Dear ladies and gentlemen,
The fact that the World Energy Congress is being held in Turkey is a significant event. It is evidence of the steadily increasing role of Turkey in the global energy policy. Turkey has taken very important steps in addressing the energy security issue. The development and stability of Turkey is necessary not only for those who love Turkey but also the friendly states, the whole world, because Turkey today is playing a very significant role in determining the world energy policy.
In July of this year, Turkey honorably overcame a difficult test. The Turkish people, having closely united around President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, showed great heroism, prevented a coup attempt, protected the statehood, a happy present and future of Turkey. We in Azerbaijan are proud of you.
Together with Turkey, we are implementing many energy projects that represent great importance for the planet. It should be noted that the history of world’s oil begins with Baku. It was in Baku that oil was industrially extracted for the first time in the world in the middle of the 19th century. One hundred years later, Azerbaijani oil-workers extracted first oil offshore. In the early years of independence, Azerbaijan invited foreign oil companies to the Caspian Sea for the first time, the Contract of the Century was signed and the development of the oil fields of Azeri, Chirag and Guneshli began. These oil fields are one of the largest sources of oil on a global scale. Thus, the dynamic and successful development of our country began.
This month we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the restoration of our independence. The energy sector has played a special role in the development of our independent country. Azerbaijan is a country that does not have access to world markets through the open sea. Therefore, we had to build pipelines. Today we have three pipelines to deliver our crude oil to world markets – two take our oil to the Black Sea and one to the Mediterranean, to the port of Ceyhan. For the first time in history, we have linked the Caspian and Mediterranean seas, and today Azerbaijani oil is exported to Turkey and from Turkey to world markets. This brings us great benefits. In the 10 years that have passed since the day when, together with my dear brother, President Erdogan, opened the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline in 2006, the relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan in the energy sector and other areas have further strengthened. After 2007, Azerbaijan started to export natural gas for the first time in history. A pipeline linking Baku to Erzurum was built, and so we started gas exports to Turkey.
Proven natural gas reserves in Azerbaijan make up 2.6 trillion cubic meters. One of the world’s biggest gas fields, Shah Deniz, is in Azerbaijan. Given all this, we needed to build a major pipeline, and different companies and countries made effort in this direction. However, all those efforts remained futile. Turkey and Azerbaijan showed leadership in this matter again, and together with my dear brother, President Erdogan, we signed an agreement on TANAP in the beautiful city of Istanbul in 2012.
The agreement on TANAP is historic. It gave an impetus to other important projects. The TANAP project is part of the Southern Gas Corridor, one of the largest energy projects in the world. The investment capacity of the Southern Gas Corridor is $45 billion and covers four important projects. The first is TANAP, which will take our gas to Georgia, Turkey and the border of Greece. The second is the South Caucasus Pipeline, which takes the Azerbaijani gas to the Turkish border. The third is the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline and, finally, the fourth envisages the second phase of the development of Shah Deniz.
Today, the Southern Gas Corridor project is being successfully implemented. Azerbaijan and Turkey demonstrate leadership in the implementation of this project, which is very important for energy security.
Energy security is a matter of national security of any country. Countries these days are trying to take their natural resources to world markets in different ways, while those not rich in natural reserves seek the supply of resources from various sources. Azerbaijan has taken important steps in this direction, supplying both oil and gas to world markets through a diverse network of routes.
Seven countries have already joined their efforts to implement the Southern Gas Corridor. Several more may join this important project in the future. Work in this direction multiplies the power of our country, because, as I said, we have only been an independent country for 25 years. In the early years, much of our economy was associated with oil and gas. Today, by investing our oil and gas revenues in other sectors of the economy, we ensure sustainable development of our country. Oil and gas account for only 30 per cent of our economy.
Energy security issues should be resolved in the future too. Countries rich in natural resources, transit and consumer countries should act like one team. We can’t allow unreasonable competition. There must always be a sound competition. The countries producing and exporting oil and gas should have better mutual understanding. Azerbaijan has always supported this, so that we could ensure the interests of our countries and peoples. Our energy policy has enabled us to invest in foreign countries. In the first years of independence, we were dependent on foreign investment. Today, we are investing heavily in other countries. This includes the investments we have made and will make in brotherly Turkey, which account for 20 billion dollars. This strengthens our economy and the Turkish economy. This strengthens our unity.
Today, when the world is discussing energy issues and energy security problems, it is impossible not to reckon with Turkey and Azerbaijan, because we have natural resources, a vast geography and a diversified transport infrastructure. We have created all this and are building our work with all countries on an equal and mutually beneficial basis and interests.
We are very pleased that Turkey is successfully and confidently moving forward. Turkey is a member of G20. If we were to characterize Turkish-Azerbaijani relations by only one fact, I would say that Turkey could invite only one non-member country to the G20 summit in Antalya in November last year, and it invited Azerbaijan. I want to thank you again for that.
This is my fourth visit to Turkey this year. My dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan also visits Azerbaijan. Our friendship, unity and brotherhood are permanent, eternal and
indestructible. Thank you!