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Azerbaijan’s Cooperation With the EU: A Pragmatic Focus on the Benefits


european-union-and-azerbaijan-482718416_4467x2234During the June 22 Eastern Partnership (EaP) meeting in Minsk, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov outlined his country’s key areas of cooperation with the European Union and said the two sides are close to signing a document listing their “Partnership Priorities” (Mfa.gov.az, June 22). EU-Azerbaijani relations suffered in the past because of the European Parliament’s (EP) critical resolutions on Azerbaijan (see EDM, June 22, 2017). Continue reading

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Southern Gas Corridor Raises Significant Financing, but Still Faces Provocations


worldinfrastructurenewsOn February 6 and March 15, the European Investment Bank (EIB) allocated loan packages of €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) and €932 million ($1.14 billion) to complete the construction of the Southern Gas Corridor’s (SGC) two main segments, which will carry Caspian-basin natural gas from Azerbaijan to Southeastern Europe—respectively, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) (Eib.org, February 6; Azertag, March 17). Continue reading

Azerbaijani leadership resolutely upholds the Southern Gas Corridor


Aliyex-azer-gas-1920x1040On February 6 and March 15, the European Investment Bank (EIB) allocated the biggest package of loan of € 1.5 billion (bn) and € 932 million (mm) respectively to complete the construction of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP). Both are main segments of the Southern Gas Corridor. Continue reading

EU-Azerbaijan Relations Set for Bright Future


european-union-and-azerbaijan-482718416_4467x2234There has been an increase in the volume of dialogue between the EU and Azerbaijan of late, notably the visits of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev’s to Brussels in February, and before that in November of last year. After the 15th meeting of the Azerbaijan-EU Cooperation Council in Brussels on February 9, the EU’s High Representative Federica Mogherini praised negotiations with Azerbaijan as being constructive and forward-looking. Continue reading

Difficult Geopolitics of the Caspian Complicate Potential Energy Projects


113496_7406ef53942744708e0eThe foreign ministers of the five littoral Caspian states—Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran—met in Moscow, on December 5, 2017, to try to finalize an agreement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. After the talks, the Azerbaijani and Russian representatives, Elmar Mammadyarov and Sergei Lavrov, respectively, praised the narrowing of the five country’s positions (Azernews.az, December 5, 2017). Continue reading

Azerbaijan Seeks to Speed Up Conclusion of New Agreement with the EU


EU-Azerbaijan_good_1493137615Before the Eastern Partnership’s (EaP) Brussels Summit in November 2017, many observers expected the finalization of the new EU-Azerbaijan agreement. However, neither this agreement nor the aviation agreement were signed, as many technical challenges remain to be addressed. Azerbaijan signed only a visa-free agreement with the BeNeLux countries for service passports holders and the indicative maps of the Trans-European transport network (TEN-T). Continue reading

Outcomes of the Eastern Partnership Brussels Summit for Azerbaijan


IA EaP SummitBefore the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Brussels Summit (November 2017), there were many polemics associated with competing language of the summit’s declaration on unresolved conflicts and the new EU-Azerbaijan agreement. The European Parliament’s (EP) previous critical resolutions towards Azerbaijan, which is considered by Baku a political provocation carried by some anti-Azerbaijani circles, had earlier postponed the negotiations of the new agreement. Continue reading

Gas Diversification Policy of Georgia: Role of External Actors — Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran


Cover page comment samThe ultimate purpose of this research paper is to examine Georgia’s gas diversification policy options from the standpoint of economic attractiveness, political likelihood, transportation (infrastructure) connectivity and energy security. The paper encompasses five chapters on Georgia’s energy sector including discussion of energy balance, energy demand, gas suppliers, sources, etc.; the role of Azerbaijan in Georgia’s energy market and existing pipelines and contracts; Russia’s interest in Georgia’s gas sector, including recent talks and renewal of the transit agreement, as well as public reactions thereto; and the possibility of Iranian gas exports to Georgia, including the role that Armenia is enthusiastic to play in this regard. You can freely access the material in pdf via Gas Diversification Policy of Georgia: Role of External Actors — Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran 

The Potential Impact of New US Sanctions Law on Pipeline Projects Connecting Europe and Eurasia


While expressing some “concerns,” United States President Donald Trump signed the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,” on August 2 (Whitehouse.gov, August 2)—legislation that was overwhelmingly approved by the US House of Representatives late last month. Continue reading

Strategic Partnership Agreement: A New Chapter in EU-Azerbaijan Relations


Ilham-Aliyev-and-Federica-Mogherini-Brussels-February-6-EDM-June-22-2017-640x360On June 13–14, the European Union and Azerbaijan held another round of talks on the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). Those ongoing discussions were first inaugurated on February 6, with the official visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to Brussels. Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) stated that both sides hope to finalize the draft agreement by the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit Continue reading

The Southern Gas Corridor: Heading into the Home Stretch?


Trans-Adriatic-Pipeline-Selected-for-Shah-Deniz-Gas-TransportSecurity of gas supply is a priority for the European Union (EU) because it is critical to ensure that (1) supplies are not disrupted; (2) market can be competitive and (3) the EU cannot be blackmailed in foreign and security policy questions. Continue reading

Propaganda Against Trans-Adriatic Pipeline Continues Under ‘Environmental Concerns’


TAP-protests.jpgOn April 6, Italy’s Lazio Regional Administrative Court (LRAC) suspended the environmental impact permit for the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which would have allowed for the relocation of olive trees that obstruct the planned path of the pipeline in the Puglia region town of Melendugno (Italianinsider.it, April 7). Continue reading

Armenia’s Doubts on Russia Ties Prompt Pro-EU Maneuvering


Serzh-Sargsyan-785x487.jpgOn February 28, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan speaking at Carnegie Europe, a Brussels-based think-tank dubbed Armenian people ‘European‘ due their spiritual-cultural heritage and way of life, and stressed the importance of ‘shared values’ in the new EU-Armenia agreement. The speech came a day after the European Union and Armenia agreed on the “Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement” (CEPA) Continue reading

Russian Gas in the Southern Gas Corridor Could Undermine the EU’s Diversification Plans


TASS_1039167_468Gazprom has officially declared its willingness to use the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) as a route to deliver gas to Europe. TAP is an integral part of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) which is one of the priority energy projects for the EU to ensure the continent’s security of supply from a non-Russian source. Continue reading

Brussels Rolls out the Red Carpet for Azerbaijan


1543192740513In February, the European Union rolled out the red carpet for the official visit of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev for the inauguration of the new EU-Azerbaijan “Strategic Partnership Agreement.” During the visit, President Aliyev called the new agreement a “new chapter” in Azerbaijan-EU relations Continue reading

Suspension of Azerbaijan’s EITI Membership: Repercussions for the Southern Gas Corridor


EITIThe International Board of Directors (BoD) of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) suspended Azerbaijan’s membership in the coalition. The decision came during the BOD’s 36th meeting (on March 8­–9), in Colombia. The EITI promotes the open and accountable management of oil, natural gas and mineral resources with the involvement of governments, companies and civil society organizations Continue reading

Southern Gas Corridor Seeks Financial Backing Amidst Volatile Oil Prices


During the third ministerial meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) Advisory Council, held in Baku, on February 23, the European Commission’s vice president for the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, encouraged international financial institutions to bankroll the SGC project (Trend, February 23). Continue reading

Injecting Russian Gas Into TAP: Downgrading Importance of Southern Gas Corridor


1l-Tap route.jpgFor the first time ever, Gazprom officially expressed interest in using the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to deliver Russian gas to Europe (Trend, January 24). During the European Gas Conference in Vienna, on January 24, Gazprom deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said that Russia’s upstream capacity is sufficient Continue reading

Perspective for Turkish Stream Project: Possible Scenarios and Challenges



Following the cancellation of South Stream, Russia announced its plans to reroute the pipeline to Turkey, instead of Bulgaria. The new pipeline was dubbed “Turkish Stream”, with same capacity of South Stream, but less vulnerable to EU competition law. “Turkish Stream” has also experienced delays due to the crisis in Russia-Turkey relations. However, following the recent normalization of bilateral relations, the project regained its momentum. Continue reading

TAP’s Fate after the Italian Referendum


Italian PM Renzi leads a news conference to mark 1000 days in the government, in RomeOn December 4, a referendum in Italy rejected the sweeping constitutional reforms proposed by the government, ultimately resulting in the resignation of Matteo Renzi from the prime minister’s post. One of the main proposed constitutional changes was the division of competences between the state and the regions on defining which governing body will retain the legislative power on “land-use planning” and “transport and distribution of energy.” Continue reading

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