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Azerbaijan may participate both in South Stream and Nabucco: German expert

10 November 2009 [14:33] - TODAY.AZ
Day.Az interview with fellow at German Council on Foreign Relations Stefan Meister.
Day.Az: What is Azerbaijan’s potential and role as an alternative supplier of energy resources to Europe?

Stefan Meister: I would like to note the leadership Azerbaijan secured in recent years due to competent and well-balanced foreign and economic policy. On one hand, republic cooperates with Russia in energy sector and on the other hand Baku sends message to the EU that it is willing and is able to participate in Nabucco. Azerbaijan is a key player for the Nabucco pipeline and can play a major role in future in supplying the EU with oil and gas. The country possesses both resources and balanced regional policy to play this key role. In addition, Azerbaijan can become a transit hub for resources from the Central Asia.

Q: Russia proposes gas transport projects across the Baltic and Black Sea. To what degree the energy projects involving Azerbaijan are promising?

A: As I noted above, Azerbaijan cooperates in the energy sector with Russia and the EU. So why not to export gas via Russia and the European pipelines? The main point is that Russia is able to implement pipeline projects much faster than the EU, but often it refuses to pay those prices which the EU pays. Azerbaijan may anyway participate in South Stream and Nabucco. It will only benefit the country.

Q: How soon may the Nabucco gas pipeline project be implemented?

A: It is difficult to predict it. On one hand, the August events that happened last year and the gas crisis that occurred earlier this year have been very useful in terms of accelerating initial phase of Nabucco. A consortium was founded. But on the other hand, it is still unclear from where the gas will flow. Furthermore, support by the EU is still too weak. I believe the pipeline should be built first and later a gas will be found. The BTC pipeline was built in the same way.

Q: Russia and Iran disapprove of the idea of laying a pipeline under the Caspian Sea. Do you think that this stance prevents implementation of projects designed to address European energy security?

A: Let's see how Iran and Russia will cooperate in future. Iran currently is a complex partner. The country increasingly isolates himself. There is more rhetoric than action in Russia-Iran cooperation.

It is possible that there will be a common interest to build a pipeline in cooperation with European partners. The situation is likely to change in the next year or two, and Tehran will likely have more interest to cooperate.

Q: Could August events in Georgia create some problems for implementation of regional energy projects?

A: First, Georgia’s pipelines were not damaged last summer. This means that the status quo of pipeline investments in the region is accepted by all parties. Therefore, development of new pipeline projects in the region is possible, especially because Georgia has an interest to participate in them.


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