Meetings and discussions at the 27th Baku Energy Week had special importance against the backdrop of the current situation in the world energy sector, aggravated by the war in Ukraine, which makes all the countries of the Old World, even further intensify the search for ways to diversify their energy resources, abandon Russian gas, switch to renewable energy sources.
This forum, as one of the first large-scale events held in Baku after two years of no face-to-face meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, brought together officials and representatives of large energy companies. Among them were ministers and deputy ministers of energy of many countries, senior officials of companies interested in cooperation and implementation of projects in Azerbaijan, primarily traditional partners such as bp, Equinor, TotalEnergies, ACWA POWER, MASDAR, and others.
In general, within the energy week, attended by about 400 representatives from 20 countries, issues of global energy security, the possibilities of exploration and production of oil and gas in the Caspian region, the importance of Azerbaijani gas for Europe, the transition to green energy and funding for these projects were discussed.
Thus, speaking at the official opening ceremony of the 27th Caspian Oil and Gas International Exhibition within the Baku Energy Week, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev noted the growing demand for Azerbaijani gas.
According to the president, potential consumers should understand that it is impossible to sharply increase gas production in a short time - in a year.
"For that, we need contracts. We need to start and speed up negotiations. We need, of course, to work with our traditional partners, investors, energy companies in order to increase the production. And also we need to expand the existing facilities," President Aliyev said, noting that the Baku Energy Week would be an excellent opportunity to discuss these critical issues, as high-ranking officials from many countries are among the guests.
The importance of Azerbaijani gas and its contribution to energy diversification was discussed at the energy forum, which replaced the traditional oil and gas conference. Thus, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Mining and Energy of Serbia Zorana Mihajlovic told Report during the forum that Serbia will complete the construction of an interconnector with Bulgaria to be able to receive Azerbaijani gas:
"Serbia is a small country that is very dependent on one energy supplier. So it is especially important for us to diversify our supplies. Azerbaijan is the country that Serbia relies on in this matter."
Switching to renewable energy sources (RES) was at the discussions' core. For example, Ivana Fernandez Duarte, regional manager of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for the South Caucasus, noted that Azerbaijan is intensively working towards the development of renewable energy sources. She pointed out that the country is using all its resources in this direction, and the IFC welcomes these initiatives.
Besides, on the first day of the conference within the framework of the Baku Energy Forum, the Azerbaijan State University of Oil and Industry and BP Exploration Limited signed a framework agreement providing for the implementation of a higher education program on renewable energy sources. The agreement was signed between BP Vice-President Bakhtiyar Aslanbayli and university's Rector Mustafa Babanli.
During the Baku Energy Week, a special session was also held in the pearl of Azerbaijan - Shusha, where it was noted that the country plays a vital role in the policy of diversifying energy resources along with energy export routes. Particular attention was paid to the development of the green energy potential of Karabakh and Eastern Zangazur.
"Three years ago, during a special session in 2019, holding such an event in Shusha seemed unimaginable. Today it is a reality. I am delighted that energy discussions are being held outside of Baku, in Shusha. I hope that this will contribute to the transformation of Karabakh, including Shusha, into a green energy zone," Bakhtiyar Aslanbayli, BP Vice President for Communications and External Relations in the Caspian region, said.
Four agreements were inked during the Shusha session. The Ministry of Energy of Azerbaijan signed new documents with BP (UK) and Masdar (United Arab Emirates), as well as an "executive agreement."
In addition, a cooperation agreement was signed between the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) and BP, which provides for the study of the country's renewable energy potential, cooperation in this area and the implementation of joint projects. A similar document was signed with Masdar as well.
Summing up the results of the energy week, we can boldly declare its contribution to European diversification, achievement of joint agreements, progress in the execution of current projects, as well as to the development of the energy sector in general.