Successful Visit of the EC High Level Officials to Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan*
The President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on January 13th, 2011 have signed a Joint Declaration on gas delivery for Europe in Baku. However, European efforts to lay the groundwork for accessing gas from Turkmenistan seem to have yielded fewer results.
- Azerbaijan’s pledge to supply gas will give a boost to the EU’s Southern Corridor project
- This, in turn, calls the economics of Russia’s South Stream project into question
- Russia could still benefit, though, if it connected the North-South Trunk Pipeline to the SCP
Under the Joint Declaration on the Southern Gas Corridor signed in Baku last week, Azerbaijan has committed to supplying substantial volumes of natural gas (about 10 billion cubic metres per year) over the long term to the European Union. The document also calls for Azerbaijan to play the role of transit country for Central Asian gas and outlines the EU’s commitment to providing access to its markets for these gas flows.
The Joint Declaration was signed on January 13 by José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, and Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan. The next day, Barroso held talks with Turkmenistani President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov in Ashgabat. During that meeting, he urged the Turkmenistani side to accelerate the implementation of plans for launching deliveries of gas to Europe.
The accord, together with Barroso’s trip to Ashgabat, will bolster energy ties between the EU and the Caspian region. Moreover, it has also raised the possibility of a merger between two rival gas transport projects, Russia’s South Stream and the EU-backed Southern Gas Corridor.
- Southern Corridor
The Southern Corridor would include several gas pipelines, including Nabucco, Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy (ITGI), White Stream and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), all of which aim to bring gas from the Caspian region to Europe.
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* Published in the Fifth Issue of Political Reflection Magazine (PR).