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assistant secretary pyatt’s visit to baku highlights azerbaijan’s increasing role in energy security

Assistant Secretary Pyatt’s Visit to Baku Highlights Azerbaijan’s Increasing Role in Energy Security

Author: Toghrul Ali

Jun 5, 2023

Image source: Twitter:@USEmbassyBaku

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffrey Pyatt traveled to Azerbaijan, May 20-June 2, to participate in the 28th annual Baku Energy Week. Bringing together high-level representatives of relevant ministries and international organizations, and executives of companies in the energy sector, Baku Energy Week consists of the International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition, the Caspian International Power and Green Energy Exhibition, and the Baku Energy Forum. During his visit, Pyatt held meetings with senior Azerbaijani government officials, as well as energy representatives from other governments and organizations, to discuss a variety of topics ranging from energy security to decarbonization and opportunities in increasing the use of renewable energy sources. Assistant Secretary Pyatt’s visit sends a clear message about the importance of Azerbaijan’s growing role in diversifying global energy supplies.

At the center of Pyatt’s visit was the objective to foster bilateral ties between the United States and Azerbaijan, capitalizing on the common ground shared in the realm of energy resources. While delivering his remarks at the Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition, Assistant Secretary Pyatt read a letter sent from President Joe Biden to President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. In his letter, President Biden emphasized the evolving relationship between the two countries: “For more than three decades, Azerbaijan and the United States have built a solid partnership – from countering transnational threats to promoting inclusive economic growth.” The letter acknowledged Azerbaijan’s central role in energy security: “From developing the Middle Corridor - including the Southern Gas Corridor - to helping increase energy diversification that bolsters energy resilience, Azerbaijan is helping meet a global need for secure energy supplies.” Biden concluded that the United States will continue to stand with Azerbaijan in implementing renewable and clean energy measures, as well as reforms promoting rule of law and advancing opportunities for the Azerbaijani people. 

During his remarks, Assistant Secretary Pyatt elaborated on the importance of clean energy transition. He acknowledged that both the U.S. and Azerbaijani governments recognize the critical situation pertaining to the global climate crisis and “the need to double down on our commitments to energy transition and new energy technologies.” Specifically, following his meetings with Azerbaijan’s Minister of Energy, Minister of Economy, and President, Pyatt pointed out that development of green energy is among the areas of priority for the Azerbaijani government. And he suggested that there is potential for collaboration with American energy companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron that have already started implementing similar projects in the United States. 

In light of Russia’s war against Ukraine that has resulted in an energy crisis looming over Europe, Azerbaijan has stepped up to double its natural gas exports to the continent. During his visit, Pyatt emphasized the importance of projects such as the Southern Gas Corridor and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, especially to secure energy supplies to Europe following Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Further cooperation between the United States and Azerbaijan in the energy sector can successfully contribute to diversifying global energy supply routes away from states that have increasingly become pariahs in the international community, such as Russia and Iran, something that remains a priority for both the United States and the European Union. Moreover, development of the Caspian Region’s renewable energy resources and green energy infrastructure can help Europe on its path to a green transition, while simultaneously reducing Azerbaijan’s dependance on hydrocarbons. Further adjustment of key pipeline infrastructure, such as the Southern Gas Corridor, can also potentially result in Azerbaijan exporting green hydrogen to Europe, laying the groundwork for a sustainable “Caspian-European Green Energy Corridor.” Initiatives such as this can also benefit other Caspian-region countries like Kazakhstan and Georgia, both of which have similarly promising renewable energy potential. 

Pyatt’s visit to Azerbaijan paves the way for enhanced cooperation not only between the United States and Azerbaijan, but also between the United States and the larger Caspian Region. “We are committed to sustaining energy partnership with Azerbaijan, because of the unique role Azerbaijan plays as a major oil and gas producer, as an obvious gateway for the countries of Central Asia,” Pyatt stressed at a press briefing. Through this cooperation, the United States can bolster the prospects of a more secure and sustainable energy future for the entire region.

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