BAKU, Azerbaijan (UPI) —Projects meant to exploit the strategic position of the Caspian Sea and its oil and natural gas are national priorities, Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia said.
The Iranian and Russian presidents met with their Azeri counterpart in Baku, to review trilateral relations. All three are energy rich and positioned to take advantage of opportunities in the Caspian Sea.
In a statement, Russian President Putin said the nations could work together to create a regional counterpart to Western trade corridors.
“In the energy industry, priority should be given to the implementation of projects for the exploration and development of oil and gas deposits, first of all in the Caspian region,” he said. “We are ready to discuss mutually beneficial projects on the joint use of pipeline infrastructure for the transit of raw materials.”
Azerbaijan holds sizable reserves of natural gas and European leaders are waiting to tap into its offshore Shah Deniz field in an effort to break Russia’s grip on the energy sector. Iran and Russia, meanwhile, are working to counter sanctions pressures to advance their own regional oil and gas interests.
During his visit to Baku in February, U.S. special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Amos J. Hochstein said the Shah Deniz gas project was a “long-standing” priority for the US government.