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Azerbaijan Looks Beyond Energy Success for Economic Growth

Azerbaijan's growing economy undoubtedly benefits from its oil and gas developments, but the country also has laid a strong foundation to move into other sectors that deserves closer attention, participants at a two-day conference agreed.

"The energy sector is not an end in itself, but a means to an end," observed Jonathan H. Elkind, acting assistant secretary for international affairs at the US Department of Energy. "Energy serves as the backbone for our economies. It underpins many other activities."

The US has a long relationship with Azerbaijan which it intends to maintain because it wants a diversified global hydrocarbon economy, Elkind said during a panel discussion at the 2014 US-Azerbaijan Convention organized by the Assembly of the Friends of Azerbaijan.

"Azerbaijan clearly has benefited from a huge body of work over 20 years, yet some of its most significant decisions still lie ahead," Elkind said. "It has succeeded in attracting leading energy companies, but is ready to offer new opportunities for other businesses and industries.

Completion of the 2,500th tanker loading at the Ceyhan terminal in Turkey a week earlier underscored what Azerbaijan has achieved in opening a route for Caspian Basin crude oil to reach European customers, he indicated. "The coercive use of energy we've seen elsewhere in recent weeks has emphasized the importance of this," Elkind said. "It underscores what Azerbaijan has achieved."

Source: Oil and Gas Journal

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