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In the News

Azerbaijan a reliable partner for Europe - Mehriban Aliyeva

Caspian Factor

September 19, 2011

The European Parliament office in Paris hosted an int'l conference on "Azerbaijan: a strategic partner for Europe's energy security” on 16 September.

The conference was attended by First Lady of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva.

Expressing appreciation for her participation in the conference, the mayor of the 7th district of Paris, member of the European Parliament Rachida Dati stressed the importance of the event. Noting that Azerbaijan is a strategic partner of France in many areas, Rachida Dati said that Azerbaijan has been steadily moving towards independence for 20 years and  today plays an important role in the international arena.

Rich in oil and gas, Azerbaijan is an important partner of the European Union in the energy sector. The Mayor of the 7th district of Paris noted that the conference is also devoted to the expansion of the Azerbaijani-French economic cooperation. Rachida Dati stressed the exceptional contribution of Heydar Aliyev Foundation President Mehriban Aliyeva in deepening relations between the two countries.

The first lady of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva spoke in the international conference.

News.Az publishes a full transcript of the president's speech, translated from state-run news agency AzerTAj.

'Ladies and gentlemen!
Dear friends!

First of all, I would like to greet you at this conference, dedicated to strengthening the role of Azerbaijan in the energy security of Europe, and express my gratitude to you. I am also grateful to our distinguished friend - Mrs. Rachida Dati for all  support provided in organizing today's event.

Let me begin my statement with saying that 150 years ago, Azerbaijan became the first country where the oil was extracted industrially. In 1901, the country accounted for 50 percent of world’s oil production. Along with other key players, the first oil boom took place with the participation of companies of the Nobel brothers, Shell Transport & Rothschild Banking House. During the Second World War, Azerbaijan alone provided more than 70 percent of total oil supply of the Soviet Union, and it was a great contribution to the victory over fascism.

After the restoration of our independence in the late twentieth century, Azerbaijan has created such an investment environment that many of the world's leading energy companies began to invest in our oil and gas sector.

By signing the 1994 Contract of the Century with a consortium of leading oil companies, Azerbaijan opened the resources of the Caspian Sea to the  world for the first time in history.

Since that time, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic has signed 32 production sharing agreements with 53 international energy companies of 20 countries. The total amount of investments by foreign companies in oil and gas sector of Azerbaijan reaches $44bn.

At present, Azerbaijan produces about 1m barrels of oil per day and about 30bn cubic meters of gas per year.

Our proven gas reserves exceed 2.2trl cubic meters. This will allow our country to remain an important supplier of gas to international markets for the next decades. Azerbaijan has also invested in energy-transport infrastructure. One of our priorities is to diversify supply routes. Today 7 oil and gas pipelines deliver our resources to world markets via different routes.

Azerbaijan has ensured its own energy security, and currently contributes to the energy security of the partner countries.

One of the greatest achievements of Azerbaijan was the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. It connected the Caspian and Mediterranean seas for the first time ever. We also play a role as a transit country, while ensuring access of oil suppliers from the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea to European and international markets. In both supply and transit, we are a reliable partner.

Another historic achievement was the construction of the South Caucasus gas pipeline, which opened a corridor for the export of our gas. Azerbaijan is a reliable partner for Europe. Our approach to energy security lies in the fact that energy should not divide but unite nations and peoples. Energy should rather serve regional and international cooperation than competition or clashes. Interests of suppliers, transit countries and consumers should be the same, and, above all, lead to the prediction and mutual benefit. This is the energy philosophy of our country.

At this conference, taking place in the heart of Europe - the beautiful city of Paris, I would like to congratulate the French energy company "Total" and "Gaz de France" with the successful opening of a new gas field "Absheron" in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. This was announced a few days ago. The new field will increase the energy potential of Azerbaijan, as well as Europe's energy security.  

On 13 January 2011 in Baku, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliev and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso signed a Joint Declaration on the South Corridor gas. We hope that in the near future Azerbaijani gas will be delivered to the gas market in Europe, and relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan will become even stronger.

I wish success to all the participants. Thank you for your attention'.

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