Q&A with Elin Suleymanov
Azerbaijan’s ambassador talks about energy security in state
Elin Suleymanov, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to the United States, was in Oklahoma this week for a town hall meeting in Tulsa on Sunday and meetings with state leaders on Monday. Azerbaijan is a former Soviet state between Russia and Iran.
Q: How was the town hall received?
A: It was a very good town hall. We focused on global energy security. Given recent events in Ukraine, that has become even more important.
Q: Tell us about the Southern Gas Corridor pipeline project you are promoting as a way to allow Azerbaijan to sell natural gas to Europe.
A: It takes gas to European markets from Azerbaijan through Turkey and all the way to Italy. It should be a very good contribution to the energy security of the region. Everyone today talks about the need for energy security. The most realistic option is the Southern Corridor.
Q: How would liquified natural gas exports from the U.S. affect that project?
A: We support Europe importing gas from the United States. We believe diversity is the best option. We could sell on our border to Russia or Iran. We don’t need to invest in this pipeline, but Azerbaijan believes in a direct relationship with our customers. We’re not talking about confrontation with Russia in any way. Nobody’s talking about replacing Russia’s supply. We’re talking about adding to the diversity and security of the market.
Adam Wilmoth, energy editor