Meeting: June 5, 2014: Azerbaijan's energy strategy: a viable alternative energy source for the EU?
On June 05 2014 the Brussels Energy Club held an interactive discussion addressing the topic of:
"Azerbaijan's energy strategy: a viable alternative energy source for the EU?"
which took place on Thursday, June 5, 2014, 5-8pm @ TUSIAD Avenue des Gaulois, 13, Brussels 1040
With special guest speaker
Dr Elkhan Nuriyev
Former-Strategic Adviser to the President of Azerbaijan and Founding Director of the Center for Strategic Studies under the President of Azerbaijan, Baku
Here in Europe, many of us view Azerbaijan as a potentially vital partner for our energy consumers — a source of diversification of vital gas supplies to the continent in circumvention of the Russian monopoly. Indeed, this may well be the case looking forward, taking into account that Baku and its international partners appear to be going "full steam ahead" with the development of the giant Shah Deniz II gas deposit. Headway is also being made on the Turkish-Azerbaijani TANAP gas pipeline project. The future delivery of 10 bcm of Caspian gas via this corridor to Europe is just about being presented as a foregone conclusion in the international media.
But how much do we really know of Azerbaijan's energy strategy and how likely is it that such mega-projects will come to fruition? While Baku is making "all the right noises" in view of energy diplomacy, is it all likely to be smooth sailing in terms of our aspirations to see the Southern Gas Corridor fully realised ? Azerbaijan today remains a complex country with complex decision making processes, which often tie into regional geopolitical as well as geo-economic equations. From a Brussels-eye view it may appear that Baku is committed to its side of the Southern Corridor partnership. This may well be the case. That being said, the specificities of Azerbaijan's relations with Turkey may yet have a bearing for EU efforts to diversify its gas supplies. Furthermore, the peculiarities of Azerbaijan's relations with its former-Soviet neighbours, including the likes of Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Turkmenistan should likewise not be ignored. Finally, a healthy flow of Caspian gas supplies to Europe is predicated on stability in Azerbaijan itself, at least into the mid-term. Given current developments in Ukraine, and the possible implications for EU energy security, can we take anything for granted, anymore?
In order to help us come to grips with these issues, we invited Elkhan Nuriyev to visit us from Baku and address the Brussels Energy Club on Thursday June 5. In particular, we asked Dr Nuriyev to brief us on the true viability of Caspian gas as an alternative source of supply for the EU, taking into account many of the challenges noted above. Whilst offering an insider's perspective and speaking off the record, Dr Nuriyev tackled the complexities of Azerbaijan's energy relations with its neighbouring countries, and provided a firm outlook for the likelihood of seeing newfound Caspian energy supplies reaching Europe. It is quite rare that we had the opportunity for an in depth exploration of Azerbaijan's energy strategy with a highly qualified speaker from the country, so this BREC session was not to be missed.
Program June 5, 2014 — 17.00-20.00:
- Arrival of members and guests leading into welcome cocktail
- Welcoming remarks and setting out the debate by Dr Marat Terterov, Executive Director, Brussels Energy Club
- Presentation by Dr Elkhan Nuriyev
- Reflections and remarks by members and guests of the Brussels Energy Club, leading into Q/A session (NB: all discussions during the session will take place under the Chatham House Rule).
- Buffet supper reception and networking opportunities with the speaker
Dr Elkhan Nuriyev is a leading expert on Eurasian affairs and international security. He is frequently called on by government agencies, international organizations, think-tanks, media, and private-sector institutions for comment on Russian foreign policy, Azerbaijan's energy diplomacy, Caspian energy politics, Central Asia geo-strategy, conflict resolution in the Caucasus and regional security issues in post-Soviet Eurasia. He began his career in the early 1990s as a diplomat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Between 1996 and 2008 he held senior associate positions with a number of U.S. and European research institutions, including the George Washington University, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Peace Research Institute in Frankfurt, the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies and the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.
In February 2008, Dr Nuriyev was appointed Strategic Adviser to the President of Azerbaijan and he also served as the Founding Director of the Center for Strategic Studies, Azerbaijan's premier think-tank, which he headed until late January 2011. After his resignation, he was a Humboldt Senior Fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations in 2011. He has been active as an international speaker at public and private universities, institutions and conferences in the USA, UK, France, Germany, Russia and elsewhere in Europe and throughout the world since 1996. He is the author of numerous publications on Eurasian affairs, including four books and monographs, 20 book chapters, 60 scholarly journal articles and over 400 opinion pieces in professional and popular media.