Dec. 17 - Azerbaijan has signed a multi-billion dollar gas deal to supply European buyers, creating an alternative to energy supplies from Russia. Ciara Sutton reports
The deals they signed were worth $35 billion dollars. But the real value of investments agreed in Azerbaijan could be much higher. They offer Europe a chance to wean itself off Russian energy. Chairman of Azerbaijan's Centre for Economic and Social Development (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAIRMAN OF AZERBAIJANI CENTRE FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT, VUGAR BAYRAMLI, SAYING: "We'll have a direct access to the European market and in the first year Azerbaijan will be able to export more than 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the European market. And at the same time Azerbaijan will export more than 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the Turkish market." The three pipelines won't be fully functional for a few years yet. But anything that offers an alternative to Russian gas producer Gazprom will be welcome in Europe It currently supplies a quarter of Europe's gas needs. And its contracts link prices to oil, generally making it more expensive.