Foreign Secretary William Hague visited Baku today to witness the signing of the final investment decision on a new gas development led by BP, which consolidates the UK’s position as the largest foreign investor in Azerbaijan.
The Shah Deniz 2 gas deal will secure a greater diversity of gas supply to Europe and guarantees big UK commercial benefits and underlines the strength of the energy relationship between the UK and Azerbaijan. The opening of this fourth major natural gas corridor to Europe is of significant strategic importance and means that the Southern Corridor pipeline, which will bring Caspian gas to Europe, is a significant step closer to reality.
The Southern Corridor will play an important role in improving Europe’s competitiveness, by providing consumers and industry with a new gas import route, increasing Europe’s energy security and bringing much needed additional competition to Europe’s gas market.
Thousands of jobs will also be created by the project, increasing prosperity in Azerbaijan and all along the 2000-mile pipeline route as far as Italy. Many UK firms stand to gain, among them some of the 300-plus UK firms operating in Azerbaijan, as well as those providing essential engineering and support work in the UK.
Speaking at the signing, the Foreign Secretary said:
“The announcement of the Shah Deniz 2 development is welcome news for Azerbaijan, for the UK and for Europe. This adds to Europe’s energy security and competitiveness by opening up a new source of gas for southern Europe.
“The deal will also be good news for the UK – with many of the 300 firms based in Azerbaijan gaining from this major new project. The UK appreciates the vital role that Azerbaijan has played in making this deal a reality.”
Whilst in Azerbaijan the Foreign Secretary will also meet President Aliyev and the Foreign Minister Mammadyarov to discuss a range of issues.
Press Release, December 17, 2013; Image: Wikimedia