Azerbaijan is a strategic partner of Georgia, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili told Georgian journalists following his visit to Baku.
Garibashvili said that Georgia and Azerbaijan have had centuries of close relations in politics, economy, culture and other areas.
"My visit has demonstrated that we continue cooperation," the prime minister said.
Garibashvili noted that the signing of the second phase of the Shah Deniz project is crucial for Europe, because, as the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, stressed, in the near future the energy map of Europe may change completely.
Georgia stands to benefit from this project. The prime minister said that during the next five years, up to $ 700 million will be invested, creating from 2,000 to 3,000 jobs, and the capacity of the pipeline will increase to 16 billion cubic meters of gas, five percent of which will remain in Georgia.
It is another step toward Georgia effectively mastering its own corridor, and, more significantly, it will be of great importance to the region, the prime minister said.
Irakli Garibashvili expressed hope for further deepening of multilateral relations between the two countries.
The Final Investment Decision on the second phase of Shah Deniz field's development was made on Dec. 17 in Baku. Gas within the second stage of the field's development will be exported to Europe through expansion of the South Caucasus gas pipeline and construction of the Trans-Anatolian and Trans-Adriatic gas pipelines.
Reserves of the Shah Deniz field are estimated at 1.2 trillion cubic meters of gas.
The cost of the second stage of development of Shah Deniz is estimated at $25 billion.