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Azerbaijan And Energy Cooperation

Azerbaijan And Energy Cooperation

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"No nation's energy security can be had at the expense of any other nations', we're all in this together," said Ambassador Richard Morningstar, United States Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy.

In an address, June 1st, to the American Chamber of Commerce in Baku, Azerbaijan, Ambassador Morningstar stressed: "Given current global financial and economic conditions, it is more important than ever to have a reliable international energy supply. Greater energy interconnectivity, competitiveness, and transparency will increase energy security and propel economic development and prosperity."

Regarding energy policy for Eurasia, Ambassador Morningstar noted that the United States seeks to achieve many goals simultaneously in this region. "Our strategy seeks to benefit countries throughout Eurasia, whether they are supplier, transit, or consumer countries," he said. Such a strategy requires pursuing a balanced, multi-dimensional approach.

Ambassador Morningstar emphasized the importance of transparency and respect for the rule of law in the production, transportation, and purchase of the region's oil and gas. Concerning the Southern Corridor, particularly the Nabucco Pipeline and the Turkey-Greece-Italy Interconnector, he noted that the sequencing of these projects is a commercial issue.

"Both are extremely important from a diversification and strategic standpoint," he said. "They can help open up further upstream development, not just in Azerbaijan, but also in Turkmenistan and Iraq." But, he added, "We also need to recognize that they are only one part of the puzzle and not a cure-all for European energy security issues."

The U.S. encourages Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev to continue his strategic thinking about Azerbaijan's potential as both a supplier and transit country for oil and gas destined for Europe. Azerbaijan should continue reaching out to Turkmenistan to assist in developing its significant gas reserves and delivering the gas to European customers. Azerbaijan is and will continue to be an important transit country for oil from Kazakhstan.

"We hope," said Ambassador Morningstar, "it will continue to provide reliable and transparent terms for transporting oil as production in the north Caspian region increases by up to 2 million barrels of oil per day in the next 5 years, necessitating large increases in export capacity," he said.

The Baku Energy Summit declaration called for "strengthening and expanding the mutually beneficial cooperation among energy producer, transit, and consumer countries" and "continuing the policy of diversification of routes of oil and gas from the Caspian basin to world and European markets." The United States is fully in agreement.