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02.06.2015 16:37

Speech by Mr Janusz Piechociski, Deputy Prime Minister of Poland at the opening of the 22nd Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition and Conference

Honorable Mr. President, Mr. Minister, Mr. Mayor, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The global energy sector is facing huge challenges. The need to invest substantially in transmission infrastructure, our dependence on external natural gas and petroleum supplies and on traditional transport routes for fossil fuels, in conjunction with our environmental commitments, including climate protection measures, compel us to take firm action in order to avert downturns in energy security and economic competitiveness. In this context I cannot fail to emphasize todays significance of South Caucasus for global energy industry. It arises from its strategic geographic position. This Region has become an advantageous location for E & P projects and transmission of energy resources and its role will be increasing.

I have the pleasure to participate in a major event of the energy sector of this Region - the International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition. I do hope that the forthcoming trade shows and fairs and the Conference discussions integral to this Exhibition will enrich all of us with invaluable fresh expert knowledge and will add to Azerbaijans position as a regional hub for shared know-how and expertise between government administrations and energy businesses. The need for exchanges of such knowledge and best practices between the two spheres is particularly evident today as we are crossing the doorstep into great transformations by joining, as indeed we do, in the process of building a common and global energy market.

I find it most appropriate on this occasion to stress a pivotal role that Azerbaijan and South Caucasus Region play in the development of future geopolitical architecture for oil and natural gas transport corridors. Azerbaijan is playing a very special role in these processes. The European Union for over a dozen years has been pursuing a policy to diversify its energy sources and supply routes and it has a strong interest in expanding energy cooperation with Azerbaijan. Just how important it is for European states to gain alternative suppliers of energy resources show primarily the statistics of European Union countries reflecting dependence on oil and natural gas in their energy balances.

As Minister of Economy of an ascendant nation of Central Europe, I wish to emphasize that the diversification of sources and avenues for supply of energy carriers remains a priority direction of the energy strategies in our Region. Poland favors a further development of E & P projects in the Caspian Sea basin and an expansion of Azerbaijans export capacity. Central Europes import capacity is very big and in need of diversification. In this context I expect the Polish companies participating in this Exhibition to establish new or to deepen existing business ties through diverse projects with current investors in the Caucasus Region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Some of the Exhibition guests may not know that at the turn of the 19th and 20th century Poles had contributed to not only the architectural renaissance of Baku, but also petroleum industry development. A Pole, Stanislaw Despot-Zenowicz, was the mayor of Baku. He established an antecedent school for the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy, which has been housed ever since in the same building designed by another Pole, Józef Gosławski.

One other Pole, Paweł Potocki, a master of engineering, developed a method to extract oil from offshore pits after the backfilling of Bibi-Heybat Bay. As he willed, his body was buried there in the early 1930s. His tomb monument was funded by Azerbaijani authorities and is curated by the State Oil Company SOCAR. Mr. President Rovnag Abdullayev, I thank you very much for this.

To conclude with, I wish all of you every success in your talks and projects. I thank Mr. President of Azerbaijan and Mr. Minister of Industry and Energy of Azerbaijan Republic for deepening governmental and business cooperation with the European Union. I recognize the events being inaugurated today as another step in progress toward a better energy security in Europe and I encourage everybody to invest in Azerbaijan in observance of international framework and standards.

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