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USACC Hosts Dr. Brenda Shaffer of the University of Haifa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

For more information contact:

Phone: (202)-333-8702
Fax: (202)-333-8703

www.usacc.org

Dr. Brenda Shaffer Tells USACC Breakfast Meeting that Azerbaijan is More Important to the U.S. than It was in the Past

Washington, D.C. — October 13, 2010 — Dr. Brenda Shaffer, author of the book “Energy Politics” and faculty member of the University of Haifa, told a breakfast meeting at the U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) on October 12, 2010, that Azerbaijan should get a fresh look from the U.S. government.

“The land-locked nations of the Caspian region built multiple pipelines for both political and economic reasons that enabled them to assert themselves in the decision-making process of energy exports from the region,” said Dr. Shaffer. “Among the countries in the Caspian region, Azerbaijan is more important to the U.S. than it was in the past.”

Dr. Shaffer briefed the audience on a number of pressing issues, among them Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas field, also known as Caspian Energy Phase II; Russia’s reassertiveness in the Caspian region; instability in Iran; transit disputes with Turkey; unclear U.S. policy toward the region; and the amplification of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict resolution process.

Dr. Shaffer addressed the motives behind Azerbaijan’s multiple pipeline policy during Caspian Energy Phase I, which was mainly oil.

“President Aliyev was very clear that it would not be purely commercial considerations, but there would be strategic considerations in choosing the different routes,” said Dr. Shaffer. “Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and, to a certain extent, Georgia were able to overcome the geographic problems in the region by attracting foreign direct investments that resulted in energy exports, increased economic revenue and strategic importance of these countries.”

Dr. Shaffer also shared her views on the issues Turkmenistan is facing in the region with Russia and China, and the challenges Azerbaijan is facing with Turkey and Turkmenistan. She stressed that although natural gas is the most popular consumption fuel, economic uncertainties over its demand pose a challenge that Azerbaijan and other natural gas-exporting countries have to deal with. Caspian Energy Phase II might not go in the same direction of multiple pipelines as did Phase I, as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan export gas to Russia and China in addition to the Western markets.

The breakfast meeting with Shaffer was organized by the USACC and sponsored by ENI. The event was attended by U.S. private sector representatives and USACC member companies, as well as the representatives of the U.S. and Azerbaijani governments.

Dr. Brenda Shaffer is the author of the book “Energy Politics” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009). She is a faculty member at the University of Haifa. Dr. Shaffer previously served as the Research Director of the Caspian Studies Program at Harvard University sponsored by the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC). She is also a visiting professor at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy.

***

The US - Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) is a non-profit, Washington, DC based organization that seeks to promote trade and investments between the United States and Azerbaijan by rendering various business services. USACC actively seeks U.S. and international investments and companies whose products and strategic interests can be advanced in the Azerbaijani market. It also serves as a liaison between foreign companies and Azerbaijani businesses and government officials. To learn more about USACC, please visit www.usacc.org

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