(Baku – Exclusive Report By Dr Shahid Qureshi ): – Baku, capital city of Azerbaijan, hosted 23rd International Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition and Conference from 1-4 June 2016. The main event on the calendar of regional oil and gas industry and an internationally recognised platform for energy discussions, every year the International Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition and Conference brings together policy and industry leaders with a view to discussing the Caspian region’s main oil and gas projects and energy security.
This year’s international exhibition brought together over 200 companies from all around the world which showcased innovative technologies in oil production and transportation, oil and gas storage and servicing systems as well as current and prospective regional oil and gas projects. The companies that took place at the international exhibition represented Belgium, China, Spain, Italy, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and etc. The Czech Republic, Italy and Germany also presented national pavillions at the international show. Every year new companies join the show and among the new companies this year were British, Portuguese, Romanian, American companies. The conference “International Caspian Oil and Gas Conference” traditionally held in the frame of the international exhibition was attended by around 400 participants representing more than 30 countries.
Speaking at the opening ceremony Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said 23rd International Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition was significant and important event for both Azerbaijan and the world. President has noted that hosting the inugural International Caspian Oil and Gas Show in 1994 has allowed Azerbaijan to present its oil potential to international community. Touching on new regional project Southern Gas Corridor, President Aliyev said construction works proceed in line with the timeframe and has called this project a project of economy and security that will connect 7 countries bringing natural gas from Baku to the coasts of Italy. In his words Azerbaijan sits on an approved gas reserves of 2,6 tln bcm and further exploitation of new gas fields will increase the gas production in the country. Underlining Azerbaijan’s leading role and vital contributions to the implementation of important transnational projects, as in other areas Azerbaijan has come a long way in developing its oil and gas industry and has achieved all its objectives. Talking about the general lines of its energy policy President Aliyev stressed that this policy serves the purpose of developing cooperation and maintaing security in the region and beyond in a larger geography.
In his congratulatory message to participants of the international show and conference, President Obama has highlighted Azerbaijan’s vital role in securing global energy security and has called Baku a reliable partner in diversification of supply routes, strengthening energy security on the regional level. Obama has noted that Azerbaijan and its partners has made historic achievements in developing Southern Gas Corridor project last year. According to him, the continuing cooperation between Azerbaijan and its international partners will ensure the completion of these significant projects, United States together with its partners stand ready to offer support to these efforts to achieve objectives and will continue to highlight the significance of the Southern Gas Corridor. The US President has praised President Ilham Aliyev’s personal contribution and role in implementing Southern Gas Coridor, and has rendered his support to President Aliyev’s consistent policy of reforms to improve living standards of Azerbaijani people, realize full potential of the country, achieve economic diversification, improve industrial environment and strengthen accountability and the rule of law. President Obama reieterated that US remains a trusted and loyal partner of Azerbaijan.
In his congratulatory address British Prime Minister Cameron has praised traditionally strong bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and UK. Cameron highlighted that Azerbaijan’s energy resources will continue to play a significant role in the European and global economy thus advancing European energy security. Prime Minister Cameron has also underscored the significant role that the Southern Gas Corridor will play in diversifying the EU’s gas market thus strengthening the European energy security. He went on to praise the efforts of the Government of Azerbaijan in developing the Southern Gas Corridor and has called the groundbreaking ceremony of TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) on 17 May a milestone event on the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor in line with the established time frame.