Caspian region has crucial role to play in energy, trade, agriculture

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The natural resources of the Caspian can play a crucial role in strengthening energy security in Europe, according to a conference in London which was dedicated to the region’s potential.
A major focus of the 3rd Caspian Corridor Conference held at the EBRD’s headquarters on 12 March was the Southern Gas Corridor which aims to transport gas over 4,000 kilometers from the Caspian Basin to the heart of Europe.
“There is clear political will on the side of the countries involved in the project for it to succeed,” said the minister of energy of Azerbaijan, Natig Aliyev at the meeting organised by TheCityUK, International Bank of Azerbaijan, Britain Azerbaijan Business Council and Asia House.
The minister told the EBRD video team, “The Southern Gas Corridor is a global, possibly unique, project in terms of its scope, financing, complexity – and in terms of a lot of construction being not only upstream but also midstream”.
The project would not only bring a new source of energy to Europe, but also introduce cutting-edge technologies to the Caspian, he said.
(Watch video interview with Minister Aliyev in Russian)
The EBRD’s Managing Director for Energy and Natural Resources, Riccardo Puliti, gave one of the keynote speeches about the region’s energy potential.
Ahead of the conference he said: “The Caspian, or Southern, Corridor is very important because it provides more energy security for the consuming countries,  in the European Union and in the Western Balkans, by diversifying sources and routes of supply. It also provides a big opportunity for Turkey and other countries like Georgia, transit countries, to become more important. It is very important, of course, for producing countries, such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.”
(Watch Riccardo Puliti here)
Other subjects discussed at the conference included trade, regional development and financing, the need to boost innovation, the necessary reforms in financial rule of law. The conference was attended by panelists and delegates ranging from UK lawyers to ministers and entrepreneurs from the region.
EBRD Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, Francis Malige, chaired the discussion on the Caspian regional development and financing. During this panel, huge agricultural potential of Kazakhstan – the former bread basket of the Soviet Union – was discussed, amongst other things. The senior political counsellor Oksana Antonenko participated in the panel on regional trade along the Silk Trade corridor.

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