TODAY.AZ / Business

Azerbaijan, Iran sit to consider economic co-op

06 August 2014 [15:50] - TODAY.AZ
By AzerNews

Azerbaijan and Iran have discussed cooperation in various fields during the visit of an Iranian delegation to Baku headed by Iran's Minister of Communications and Information Technology and co-chairman of the Azerbaijani-Iranian intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation Mahmoud Vaezi.

Vaezi voiced Iran's intention to increase the share of the NIKO Oil Company in the project of development of Azerbaijan's giant Shah Deniz-2 gas condensate field at a meeting with Head of Azerbaijan's state energy company SOCAR Rovnag Abdullayev.

The Shah Deniz field, one of the world's largest gas-condensate fields, was discovered in 1999. Its reserves are estimated at 1.2 trillion cubic meters of gas. Overall, the field has proven to be a secure and reliable supplier of gas to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, and Europe.

The gas which will be produced at the second stage of Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field development will be the main source of Southern Gas Corridor, which envisages the transportation of the Caspian gas to European markets.

The Iranian minister also expressed readiness of his country to purchase Azerbaijan's gas.

"We are ready to purchase gas from Azerbaijan to meet the needs of Iran's northern region [border areas with Azerbaijan] in the fuel. In addition, we are interested in keeping the Iranian gas storage facilities in Azerbaijan in the summer," Vaezi added.

Azerbaijan possesses two underground gas storage facilities - Kalmaz and Garadagh. Both storage facilities are on the balance of SOCAR.

The capabilities of the country's underground gas storages are able to store over 3.5 billion cubic meters of gas.

Vaezi went on to note that Iran is ready to consider the possibility of transporting its gas to Europe via the Trans-Anatolian pipeline (TANAP).

Responding to the offer of the Azerbaijani side, the minister stressed that coordination is needed between the Azerbaijani and the Iranian oil and gas companies in order to meet the needs of the European market in the gas.

Also, the sides mentioned the expediency of cooperation of companies of the two countries in the development of oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea.

"Azerbaijan and Iran has large oil and gas reserves, which indicates the need for increased cooperation between the countries in this area, as well as in the oil and gas industry as a whole," Vaezi said noting the great similarity between the different spheres of the two countries.

Despite the great potential for cooperation between Azerbaijan and Iran in the oil and gas sector, the Iranian minister said the current level of relations is unsatisfactory.

"Iran considers it very important to ensure the needs of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, in particular in the energy sector. And for us, there is no barriers in this regard," Vaezi said.

Azerbaijan supplies gas to Iran within swap operations to provide Nakhchivan with "blue fuel". Some 125 million cubic meters of gas were supplied through Iran's territory to the territory of Nakhchivan within the swap operations during the first four months of 2014. Iran also expanded the fuel supply from Azerbaijan up to one million cubic meters.

The two sides also decided to create underground gas storage at the salt deposit base to secure the sustainability of gas supplies to Nakhchivan.

An underground gas storage facility with a storage capacity of 200-300 million cubic meters will be sufficient to meet the needs of the autonomous republic.

Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is under siege because of the occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani lands by Armenia.

As part of visit to Baku, the Iranian delegation was received by Azerbaijani Minister of Communications and High Technologies Ali Abbasov.

The Azerbaijani ministry called for further cooperation in the field of satellite communications and the Iranian side expressed its readiness to consider the aspects of cooperation in this area.

During the meeting, Vaezi said Iran will consider the usage of resources of Azerbaijan's Azerspace-1 telecommunications satellite for broadcasting its television and radio channels.

Currently, the number of TV and radio channels broadcasted via Azerspace-1 satellite exceeds 120 channels. The satellite is located at the orbital position of 46 degrees east longitude.

Custom satellite antennas should be set as follows to view television content: Frequency - 11169 MHz, speed: 20400, polarization - Horizontal and FEC - 5/6.

Azerbaijan launched the first telecommunications satellite Azerspace-1 on February 8, 2013. The satellite is designed to provide digital TV, data transmission services, the creation of multi-service VSAT networks and to ensure government communications. Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and North Africa are included in the service area of Azerspace/Africasat-1a.

During the meeting, Azerbaijan and Iran also discussed the possibility to sign two new agreements on cooperation in the fields of telecommunications and postal services.

Also, Iran initiated the development of production of high-tech products in Azerbaijan.

As part of the trip, the Iranian delegation met with Azerbaijan's Economy and Industry Minister Shahin Mustafayev.

During the meeting, Mustafayev invited the Iranian companies to develop joint production in the established industrial parks of Azerbaijan.

"There are great opportunities in the field of development of joint production with given participation of Iranian companies in Azerbaijan's created production parks," the Azerbaijani minister said.

He added the two countries enjoy great potential for further cooperation in the field of energy and agriculture.

"One of the important areas for further cooperation between the two countries may be such fields of economy as tourism, banking, land reclamation and irrigation, trade, etc," he noted.

Mustafayev also noted Azerbaijan and Iran have agreed to continue talks on the issues of economic cooperation.

"Azerbaijan positively considers the issue of development of bilateral relations with Iran, which will form the basis for the development of the two countries," Mustafayev stressed.

Vaezi, in turn, expressing solidarity to Azerbaijani counterpart, said the achievements gained within the framework of the visit of the Iranian delegation to Azerbaijan, will be beneficial for both countries.

Azerbaijan and Iran have had diplomatic relations since 1918. Iran recognized Azerbaijan's independence in 1991, and diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992.

The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran stood at $94.12 million in January-June 2014, according to Azerbaijan's State Customs Committee. Azerbaijan imported some $76.81 million worth of Iranian products, while the amount of export to this country totaled $17.31 million.

Iran's trade turnover with Azerbaijan stood at $470 million ($448 million exports and $22 million imports) in the first eleven months of 2013, Iran's customs administration's latest report shows.

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