First Oil and Gas Conference about Southern Gas Corridor Projects organized with the help of Azerbaijan Center and sponsored by State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic has attracted a lot of attention of the public of City of Houston.
District Council Rep Edward Gonzalez opened the Conference with a proclamation by City of Houston and pointed out the importance of such a conference with regards to international relations between the US and Azerbaijan.
Bilateral in her welcome remarks the Chancellor of the University of Houston System Renu Khator drew the attention to the importance of a dialogue and interaction on the international level.
Irada Akhoundova, CEO of Azerbaijan Center and a Chair of Conference Organizing Committee, gave an overview of the main goals of the Conference which was building bridges between nations in terms of not only culture but also business. At the same time the Conference was a good opportunity for Azerbaijan State Oil Company SOCAR to shed some light on the Southern Corridor Projects.
The first session was devoted to topics relating to strategic importance of the Caspian region; Ambassador J. Maresca has specifically reviewed the risk factors and main competitors in oil and gas supply to Europe;
Dr. Economides presented a more specific view on oil and gas supply in connection with the geopolitical context, providing some figures characterizing supply vs. demand, reserves vs. production in different countries around the world.
The second session was held by the speakers from Turkey, Greece and Italy. The speakers Caner Can (Counselor for Energy, Turkey), George Papanikolaou (Consul General, Greece), Elena Sgarbi (Consul General, Italy) outlined the advantages of the Sothern Gas Corridor project to their respective countries, in terms of economic investments, decreased level of unemployment, new perspective of diversification of gas supply to European countries. Congressman Weber have summarized the session giving the US perspective from the SGC Project pointing out the significant role that Azerbaijan is playing on the oil and gas market, becoming a fair competitor to the countries currently supplying the market.
Ambassador of Azerbaijan Republic to the United States gave the keynote speech at Luncheon about strategic importance of Azerbaijan and the necessity to build strong partnership relations between neighboring countries and countries benefiting from the Southern Gas Corridor Project. He expressed a belief that the Project is a way for partners to demonstrate their reliability in business terms. He also pointed out the enthusiasm with which European countries participate in Project Development.
Afternoon session done by Ed Hirs, Oil Finance Expert, started from the general overview of Global Oil and Gas markets, gas prices; major gas trade movements and Europe’s future energy supplies.
Deputy Vice –president of State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic, has given a broad insight into TANAP, TAP and SPC Projects development as well as Shah Deniz capacity to feed the demand. Among the things to be focused on, he named keeping flow of crude oil production stable; increasing production and exports of natural gas; contribute to Azerbaijan economic development, link Azerbaijan in trade and infrastructure with other countries. He also drew the attention of the audience to the fact that Azerbaijan projects are profitable for the investors; Azerbaijan parliament has adopted 3 PSAs as a part of national legislation to encourage foreign companies to come to Azerbaijan to conduct business.
The Southern Gas Corridor itself has 26 wells, $15bn Offshore facilities, TAP $5bn, TANAP $12bn. About 12500 people employed on the Projects: these are just a few numbers to the point of the importance and seriousness of SGC Projects committed by Azerbaijan and its partners.
Dr. Shaffer from Georgetown University has focused primarily on the new resources development in Azerbaijan, its strategic geographical location, pointing out the work European governments have to do to create proper legislative and economic conditions for natural gas to be supplied there.
The last but not least two speakers – Mr. Mammad (TANAP External Relations Director) and Dr. Niftiyev (Strategy and Policy Coordinator at Caspian Strategy Institute) talked about the outlook of TANAP and TAP Projects and their advantages to the European countries. It was mentioned that those projects have come to life thanks to strong economic and political commitment of Azerbaijan and Turkish leadership.
The SGC Conference gathered about 150 participants, including representatives from oil and gas companies, consulates and legislative authorities; students from the University of Houston and Rice University; 20 notable speakers of educational and legislative institutions (University of Houston, Georgetown University, Mayor’s Office, the Senate).