0900 GMT April 23, 2018
Thaw in relations between the West and Iran gradually begins to bear fruit, and Azerbaijan can also obtain considerable dividends from it.
The recent sworn enemies are in talks now as well. The negotiations led by several European countries (France, UK, Germany, Italy) with the National Iranian Gas Company on the issue of cooperation in the construction of gas processing plants and gas pipelines both in the country and from Iran to Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan and other countries, are the striking example of that.
Considering the issue of cooperation in the construction of gas pipelines, the issue of supplies of Iranian gas to Europe also becomes relevant. The issue of gas supplies, which became a matter of urgency in the relations between Europe and Russia, is still open and needs to be addressed.
Rapprochement between Europe and Iran in the gas sector can become a reality in terms of implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project, which will deliver Azerbaijani gas.
All gas transportation infrastructure, which is the part of the Southern Gas Corridor, was calculated with the possibility of adoption of additional gas volumes from other sources. In these circumstances, it is namely Azerbaijan that may become a reliable and important link, through which the Iranian gas can enter the European market.
As is known, Azerbaijan and Iran are connected by the Gazi-Muhammad-Astara-Bind-Biand gas pipeline, which delivers Azerbaijani gas to Iran via the swap operations in order to meet the needs of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (NAR).
The idea of construction of a gas pipeline from Turkey for strengthening NAR’s energy security has already been considered. With the construction of 180-kilometer-long Igdir (Turkey)-Sederek (NAR) gas pipeline, the operation of Azerbaijani-Iranian gas pipeline in the opposite direction can become quite real.
With that, various scenarios can be considered on condition of full warming of relations between the West and Iran.
Aside from that, Iran is linked with Turkmenistan via a gas pipeline and Europe also shows interest in obtaining Turkmen gas. This opens great opportunities for ensuring the supply of Turkmen gas to the Southern Gas Corridor. Under the current conditions, there is a need to construct a gas pipeline running under the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan in order to deliver Turkmen gas to Europe.
Restoration of full-fledge relations between the West and Iran will be beneficial to all, and in all respects, particularly in gas supply issue. Europe will get additional gas sources, while Iran and Turkmenistan will ensure the delivery of gas to the European market.
Azerbaijan, for its part, will play a role of a ‘crystal bridge’ in gas relations between EU and Iran and get considerable dividends from the transit and transport of Iranian and Turkmen gas.