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Wednesday, 04 March 2015 18:02

Azerbaijan, Bulgaria become strategic partners

The Southern Gas Corridor - a solid foundation for delivery of Caspian gas to Europe - can be expanded at the expense of interconnectors to neighboring countries. The meeting of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev, which was held in Sofia on March 4 to address the issues of supply of Azerbaijani gas to Bulgaria, ended in singing the Declaration on Strategic Partnership between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria.

 

Strategic partnership

 

On March 4 in Sofia President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev praised successful development of the bilateral relations of the countries in economic, energy, humanitarian, cultural and other fields.

It was stated that the official visit of President Ilham Aliyev to Bulgaria would contribute notably to further strengthening of the bilateral relations. The sides emphasized great prospects and good opportunities of the countries to expand cooperation.

During the meeting the presidents discussed cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU, implementation of strategic projects TAP and TANAP. After the extended meeting President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev signed the Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Bulgaria”.

 

Gas market

 

The agreement with Azerbaijan, which envisages the supply of 1 bcm of natural gas per year, is the basis for energy cooperation between Bulgaria and Azerbaijan, said President of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev at the meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. “This will help overcome the dependence on one supplier. Bulgaria is ready to expand its cooperation with Azerbaijan in terms of gas supplies”, said Rosen Plevneliev.

The President of Bulgaria also stressed the construction of the IGB pipeline (Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria), which is going to connect the gas transmission system, is the integral part of the Southern Gas Corridor. Implementation of this project will open access for Bulgaria to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) as well as secure gas supplies from the Caspian to the Visegrad Four.

“Azerbaijan is a key partner in our efforts to diversify and strengthen energy security of not only in Bulgaria, but also in South-Eastern Europe”, President Rosen Plevneliev said.

During the talks, the Bulgarian President stressed that Azerbaijan is called a strategic partner of the EU in terms of the energy security concept on Energy Union announced last week by the European Commission.

President Plevneliev stated his support to strengthening the strategic partnership between the EU and Azerbaijan.

Ilham Aliyev stressed the necessity to strengthen cooperation in the Black Sea and the Caspian region, which in turn will secure greater predictability in the relations. Construction of the railway will be a link between Europe and Asia opening new opportunities for economic cooperation.

Later President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov. Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov said Bulgaria expects to rehabilitate the Nabucco gas pipeline project and receive Azerbaijani gas. He made this statement after the talks with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, who is on an official visit in Sofia.

The Nabucco pipeline was the first priority of the EU. Now, when we became strategic partners with Azerbaijan, this topic is on the agenda again. Bulgaria has a chance to enter a big company and become a part of the project. This is the reason why we offer to consider the opportunity of restarting the construction in the European Commission”, Boyko Borisov said.

In his words, Azerbaijan enables Bulgaria to enjoy a strategic advantage in the region by means of diversification of gas supply. “This is 100% diversification. I expect the European Commission to support these efforts and start to discuss practical issues with regard to construction of the Southern Gas Corridor”, the Head of Government of Bulgaria said.

President Ilham Aliyev emphasized that Azerbaijan has sufficient volume of gas to meet requirements of the European states. “We have abundant resources. The reserves of the main field Shah Deniz exceed trillion cubic meters. The overall gas volume is estimated at 2.5 trillion cubic meters. “Southern Gas Corridor will be a major export route for gas delivery from Baku to Italy. Additional branches will be laid in the direction of Bulgaria and Greece. We also cooperate with Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, discuss the gas pipeline that can be laid to Romania and Hungary through Bulgaria”, he noted. 

“We are now talking about combining the Trans-Adriatic pipeline and Nabucco projects so that the maximum amount of the European states can receive Azerbaijani gas”, President of Azerbaijan added.

High level of our political relations was noted at the meeting. Stressed was the significance of the official visit of Azerbaijan President to Bulgaria in terms of discussion of prospects of expansion of economic cooperation. The importance of successful cooperation of our countries in the field of energy including in the Southern gas corridor project was noted. It was noted that friendly relations between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria give impulse to further expansion of relations.

1 bcm of gas that is going to be supplied from Azerbaijan on basis of the agreement signed in September 2013 shall flow through the interconnector with Greece. In the meantime, daily gas consumption in Bulgaria totals 4-5 mln and12-15 mln cubic meters in summer and winter respectively.

The consortium for development of Shah Deniz gas condensate field in the Azeri sector of the Caspian signed long-term contracts (for 25 years) on gas supply with 9 European companies in September 2013.

Contracts on purchase of Shah Deniz II gas were signed in Baku with the following companies: "Shell", "Bulgar gas", DEPA, "Gas Natural Fenosa", EON, "Gaz de France", "Hera", "Enel", "Axpo".

First volumes of gas will reach Turkey in 2018, Europe in 2019. 10 bcm of gas will be supplied to Europe along the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline (TAP).

TAP is designed for transportation of gas from the Caspian region to south of Italy and further to Western Europe

via Greece, Albania and Adriatic Sea.

Initial capacity of the TAP will total 10 bcm per year with possible expansion up to 20 bcm per year.

In January 2014, the consortium of TAP and ICGB company which are engaged in development, financing and construction of the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector, signed a memorandum of understanding about technical cooperation so that to ensure further development of strategic infrastructure in the region.

 

 

 

 

 

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