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Azerbaijan & Turkey oil presentations

Monday 15 June, 2009

The Central Asian Productivity Research Center & National Strategy Forum sponsored “The Energy Security Triangle: Defining Risks and Rewards,” the 2009 edition of the Silk Road Conference.  Last year’s conference featured high quality presentations from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, India, Pakistan, Turkey & brief overview from the Asian Development Bank to an audience of 100+ attendees.  This year’s conference offered talks given by diplomats from Azerbaijan & Turkey & introductions/off-the-cuff remarks from the Export-Import Bank & sponsors to a group of about 35.

Although powerpoint presentations were not presented, Elshan Baloghlanov of Azerbaycan Respublikasinin sent along his (silkroad09) to the attendees.  In addition he said pipelines were spearheaded by British Petroleum, whose 1st exports began in 1997.  His country suffered collateral damage from the conflict in Georgia in August, 2008 & supplies were interrupted. There are business opportunities in IT & telecom.  Their office has facilitated relationships between 10 partnerships with companies from Silicon Valley including Microsoft & Cisco in egovernment & wimax technologies since 2006.

The consul general from Turkey noted, Turkey has proximity to 72% of the oil reserves in the world.  62% of gas & 32% of oil from Russia flows through Turkey.  5 western companies have invested heavily, but their names remain secret to keep them protected.

Q&A

  • Putin will be Turkey to discuss pipelines
  • Pipelines are relatively easy to protect from terrorists
  • Turkey is a democratic country where money has little to do with political decision-making, so Turkey refuses to do the bidding of the US despite $30B in economic aid
  • Turkey is a natural economic, military, etc. ally to Israel, being the 1st to recognize it as a country in 1948 & making anti-semitism a crime.
  • Azerbaijan’s relations with Pakistan are good, so that mitigates against danger there
  • Hesitation & lack of support/conduits are obstacles to the Nabuko natural gas pipeline project
  • Governments are looking beyond the reign of oil to “convert black gold into human gold.”  Azerbaijan has a joint venture with Korean companies to build 40 windmills.  Turkey is using its resources to invest logically in renewable energies resulting in 12% coming from hydroelectric & geothermal power.

My take-maybe this conference is an example of the fallout of the economic crisis.  Its contraction could indicate the decline in interest on both sides of the coin (presenters & attendees) in international topics & be a reflection of the tendency to revert to looking inwards rather than externally @ the rest of the world for global opportunities.  If so, I think that’s a shame because now is when change is occurring & those who engage the rest of the world during these trying times will be the 1st to reap the benefits when things inevitably turn around.

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