Azerbaijan together with several countries from Central Asia adopted the Baku Declaration with the aim of strengthening energy cooperation within the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO).
The document was signed at the end of the 4th Eco Energy Ministerial Meeting which was held with the participation of Azerbaijan and included representatives from Iran, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and a number of international organisations.
The declaration provides for broad cooperation between ECO member countries in the supply of crude oil, natural gas, petrochemicals and petroleum products, the development of electricity networks, regional trade in electricity, clean energy sources, energy efficiency, financing clean energy transition in line with global steps to combat climate change.
In particular, it was underlined how the infrastructure of the diversified oil and gas pipelines, created on the initiative of Azerbaijan, connecting the Caspian, Black, Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas is ensuring the interests of the countries of the region and the solution of energy security issues.
Azerbaijan’s Minister of Energy Parviz Shahbazov mentioned the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline which so far has transported more than 438 million tons of Azerbaijani oil to Turkey and the world markets alone. Also, the role of the Southern Gas Corridor in energy integration was emphasised.
“This year, 2.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas were exported to Turkish consumers through TANAP, while 2.8 billion cubic metres were exported through TAP to European consumers,” said the Minister. “The fact that the Southern Gas Corridor is reflected in the Shusha Declaration on the relationship between Azerbaijan and Turkey is the highest confirmation of the strategic importance of the project in the prosperity of the region.”
Mr Shahbazov also touched upon the issues related to the support of currently implemented and planned projects and reforms in the electric power engineering sector to the process of establishment of the ECO Regional Electricity Market and to the prospects of new cooperation.
“Today, new realities emerging in the region under the leadership of the President of Azerbaijan Mr Ilham Aliyev lay the way for broad cooperation with new projects to strengthen security and stability, including energy within the ECO,” he reminded. “In the future, the planned auctions for renewable energy projects with a capacity of about 700 MW [megawatts], as well as the joint use of the rich wind, solar and hydropower potential of the Caspian Sea and Karabakh are opportunities for deepening energy and economic cooperation within the ECO.”
Indeed, ECO Secretary General Hadi Soleimanpour underlined that the goals of the Organisation in the next decade are to bring the share of green energy in the total energy balance between member countries to a significantly higher level than now, to strengthen cooperation in the field of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.