EU Envoy Says Armenia May Be Route For Future Pipeline

ANKARA (Hurriyet)—The European Union’s special representative to Central Asia on Friday said he expected to see Armenia becoming a route for a future energy pipeline if Yerevan and Ankara quickly move to normalize relations and open their sealed border.

“There have been different options. Things have not been fixed up to now. The greatest idea to say is well, in the future, why not use Armenia as a way for other pipelines,” Pierre Morel told the Turkish Hurriyet Daily in an interview.

Morel said he saw many options for new Caspian-Turkish energy pipelines due to the “mobile energy landscape” and predicted that Armenia could be the site of a future network.

“There have been different ideas about the energy routes. The southern corridor is not just Nabucco, but a wider concept,” he said. “It is also about transportation. We have to move transportation to the Caucasus.”

The Nabucco pipeline is an EU-led and US-backed project aimed at transporting Middle Eastern and Caspian gas through Turkey to Europe in an effort to break the Russian monopoly over regional energy supplies.

“But once again look at what the other corridors are,” Morel said. “A corridor is not one pipeline. A corridor is a system of pipelines. For sure, when the southern corridor takes shape, you’ll have a system of pipelines.”

Morel said, “Nabucco is going through a good phase and has been moving through important steps” following the signing of an inter-governmental agreement in Ankara last summer.

“Many said Nabucco was a dream … [But] this was done and Turkey played an important role. We’re coming step-by-step toward concretization,” he said.

One of the major obstacles for Nabucco is a lack of gas earmarked for transit. Morel said northern Iraq could be a potential source while emphasizing hesitations over Iranian gas.

“We have had more discussions today about northern Iraq as a potential source of gas for Nabucco. [Meanwhile,] there are question marks connected with Iran, not only political questions, but the context of the Iranian energy policy, which has been rather specific,” he said.

Morel held discussions at parliament as well as the foreign and prime ministries regarding Caspian energy, the southern corridor, Central Asian developments and the Turkish-Russian relationship.

Commenting on Azerbaijan’s energy policy, Morel said it had become clear the country was trying to keep its options open.

Baku signed a deal with Russian energy giant Gazprom last year to transfer 500 million cubic meters of gas to Europe in the first phase of the Shah Deniz gas field. The agreement, which followed the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia, was regarded as an ultimatum to Ankara and a blow to the Nabucco plan.

“[Azerbaijan] is sending signals to their different partners,” Morel said, adding that the country is also trying to send signals to Turkey, the EU and Russia. “The 500-cubic-meter agreement they signed with Russia is specific, not long-term. It is for one time, but it is also a signal.”

He said all the major European energy companies presently operating in Azerbaijan were following the developments “very closely.”

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8 Comments

  1. Avetis said:

    This pipeline is an integral part of the political process taking place between Armenia and Turkey under Moscow’s leadership. US is reluctantly supporting this agenda because it desperately needs regional stability, and secure access to the region’s oil/gas for its regional client states such as Israel, Turkey and various European nations. Like I have been saying, Moscow today is the sole puppet master in the region. Since Georgia is knocked out of commission for the foreseeable future, Armenia, Moscow’s regional favorite, is on center stage to take the lead. Too bad for the Turks/West/America Armenia is more-or-less run by Moscow. Moscow is using Armenia as a platform to project its economic and political power in the region. That is why the Turks are forced to sit at the table with Armenia. Other than this pipeline other potential projects for the region includes: a new oil refinery plant in Armenia, a new nuclear power plant in Armenia, regional rail network and a regional superhighway network.

  2. Garo Avedis said:

    Armenia has already a pipeline,baku-Kars-ceyhan is running thru Armenian lands

  3. Nairian said:

    I would rather see America and Turkey out of the picture and I say NO to more pipelines. Armenia has a friendly neighbour in Iran and more or less friendly neighbour in Georgia. We don’t need turkey’s friendship and the huge problems as well as the disasters that will be mounting on our little Armenia and Artsakh. Turkey can never be trusted – after all, the world today can see why they must not.

  4. Berge Jololian said:

    The goal of the US State Department (and that of UK’s British Petroleum) is to guarantee an access route to the world’s largest and most strategic gas & oil reserves in Central Asia’s Caspian basin (Turkmenistan & Kazakhstan, as well as Azerbaijan’s reserves.)

    Georgia has been deemed unstable and unreliable by the West (US, EU, and NATO) since the Russian-Georgian war of August 8, 2008. Ongoing Russian destabilization attempts in Georgia makes it an unsafe option. That leaves Armenia as the only viable option.

    Armenia is viewed as a homogeneous state with no separatists dangers as in Georgia’s Abkhazia or Ossetia; and does not have borders with Russia. Unlike Georgia’s disastrous incalculable foreign policy conduct of siding 100% with the US State Department and 0% with its giant neighbor to the north; Armenia has proven itself to follow a balanced complimentarian policy towards the superpower’s interests in the region. The West (US State Dept., EU, & Turkey), the Russian Federation, and Iran would like to see Armenia as a neutral buffer state that serves everyone’s interests; and an Armenia strong enough to maintain its role.

    Since August 8, 2008 (Russia’s invasion of Georgia), Turkey is viewed as a dead-end energy corridor to Central Asia’s energy reserves, because of its hostile border blockade with Armenia (an act of war under international law). Azerbaijan finds itself blockaded from the Western market by its own imposed border closure with Armenia; forcing it to sell its gas & oil to the Russian market.

    Why is it so important for the West to see Armenia’s borders open?

    1) Because, it provides an end to Russian dominance (leverage and influence) over gas supplies to Europe.

    2) Russian Federation would be wakened and in the future dismembered into the independent republics that form it (dagestan, tataristan, chechnya, etc..).

    3) Control China’s economic developing and prevent it from challenging the West (China is competing for the same energy reserves in Central Asia)

    4) Prevent Iran from gaining direct access to Europe via Armenia and the Black Sea port of Batumi in Georgia. Iran is deploying oil & gas pipelines, railway and highway projects from Tabriz in Iran, across Armenia and on to the port of Batumi. The Armenia route provides Iran with the shortest direct route to Europe; for import and export independent of Turkey’s influence.

    Finally, Price Charles has developed a love for Yerevan with his project “Yerevan my Love”. Armenians are not fooled by British Petroleum bearing gifts; or the US State Department’s meager $40 million so-called annual aid to Armenia; compared to the Generous billions of US investments in Georgia ($2 billion in 2009 alone).

  5. Avetis said:

    Berge, I agree with everything except one little yet massively important nuance in Armenian politics. All the infrastructure in Armenia, especially the nation’s energy sector, is under direct Russian control. Armenia’s military and government rulers are also more-or-less under Russian control as well. Russia today feels very secure in Yerevan. Had they not felt secure in Armenia, no Armenian official in their right minds would have attempted what they have been doing with Turkey and the West – unless they did not mind become martyrs. Washington, London, Brussels and Ankara are not stupid, they know this fact very well. It seems as if we Armenians are the only ones blind to this. Nonetheless, the West is “reluctantly” supporting this Russian sponsored plan – simply because they don’t have another choice. The Caucasus’ energy route is crucially important for Turkey and Israel, as well as Europe. As a result, they have to play ball with with Moscow via Yerevan.

  6. Berge Jololian said:

    For nearly two decade, the US State Department acted in the most counterintuitive and self-destructive manner in its foreign policy towards Armenia.

    The routine goes something like this: Turkey blockades Armenia for 17 years, the US State Department puts additional pressure on Armenia to capitulate.

    The International Association of Genocide Scholars repeatedly calls on Turkey to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, the US State Department fires its ambassador to Armenia for uttering the word genocide.

    The International Monetary Fund evaluated Armenia’s loses due to Turkey’s hostile border closure at the tune of $750 million per year; the US State Department lowers US “aid” to Armenia every year to the current meager $40 million.

    Armenian-Americans advise the US State Department on the importance of integrating Armenia in the regional economies to ensure stability in the region; the US State Department responds by isolating Armenia and funding the Baku-Tibilis-Ceyhan pipeline by-passing Armenia.

    Armenia-Americans advise the US State Department not to fund the construction of Kars-Tiblisi railroad, and instead use the existing Kars-Gumri-Tiblisi railroad; the US State Department ignores Armenia.

    Armenian Americans advise the US State Department not to lift section 907 regarding US weapons to Azerbaijan; the US State Department does the opposite, bolstering Azerbaijan war threats in the region.

    Instead of sympathizing with the plight of Armenians leaving the country to seek economic survival; the US State Department pressured Armenia to cut off trade with the Islamic Republic of Iran; yet the same US State Department could not prevent Turkey (a staunch NATO ally) from increasing its trade with Iran.

    Armenia is grateful for the Russian Federation for its investments in Armenia; and is appreciative for the protection of Armenia’s borders with Turkey.

    Armenia is most appreciative to the Islamic Republic of Iran for its steadfast support throughout the years and for the energy projects in Armenia (gas, oil, hydro-power stations, railroad and highway, import/export).

    What has the US State Department done to sway Armenia to the West? (besides Genocide, TARC and Protocols)? The answer is clear. Zippo.

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