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25.11.2015 09:16

GECF to open beneficial platform for Azerbaijan

Energy-rich Azerbaijan has taken a step forward in its integration into the international family of gas producers after gaining an observer status at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).

With 2.6 trillion cubic meters of natural gas South Caucasus country retains a prospective of a reliable gas supplier to the global markets and is keen to play a crucial role in covering increasing demand on the market.

The new observer at the 3rd Gas Summit of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum has offered the countries of the region to use its already established infrastructure for transportation of oil and gas.

Azerbaijan was announced the observer of the GECF's Tehran meeting on November 23.

Addressing the summit Energy Minister Natig Aliyev urged the producers to pay more attention to the rational use of energy resources, ecology, and environment.

"Azerbaijan will provide its support to solving problems and implementing the decisions by joining the Forum of Gas Exporting Countries as an observer."

With 50-year experience in the gas sector Azerbajian has comprehensive cooperation with Russia, Iran, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and other countries to make more use of its resources and regional position.

Azerbaijan is keen to deepen its fruitful cooperation with its neighbors, which it started 20 years ago.

"The cooperation gained Azerbaijan considerable experience," the minister noted.

The GECF Gas Summit is the meeting of heads of state and government of member countries that is held to consult and exchange views on the most important issues concerning them in the framework of the GECF.

The GECF, which is very often called gas OPEC by an analogy to the OPEC, is made up of 18 main and observer members.

Experts believe that the new status at the GECF will benefit Azerbaijan.

James Dorsey, a senior fellow at the School of International Studies of Singaporean Nanyang Technological University, toldTrendthat being an observer at the GECF is of great importance for such countries as Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, given the significance of gas in the Caspian region and Central Asia, as well as growing competition on the background of decline of imports by such consumers as China.

Stanislav Pritchin, the research assistant of the Center for the Study of Central Asia and Caucasus of the Institute of Oriental Studies (Moscow), has considered Azerbaijan's consent of obtaining an observer status at the GECF as a positive signal.

"This is important given the situation on the European market - one of the world's largest gas consumers," Pritchin told Trend on November 23.

He explained that the EU strategy of establishing an energy union (a single energy market) creates a disadvantageous situation for suppliers where relations with the EU are based on terms. The EU itself is not responsible for multi-billion dollar investments in the gas extraction and transportation projects.

"In fact, this is a serious problem as the risks connected to the implementation of these projects are the supplier countries responsibility, he said. And so, it would be a very positive fact for all the players if at least some general advisory approach is worked out in relation to the EU, in order not to create excessive competition in the European market."

Azerbaijan enjoys an excellent position located between huge gas exporters - Russia and Iran, and European consumers. In this context one can say that the GECF would become a good platform for Azerbaijan to promote the country's energy infrastructure and to be closer to world gas markets.

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