Could turmoil in the Middle East provide a market opportunity for Azerbaijan’s state-run energy company SOCAR? A pending energy deal with Jordan could open the way for the company’s aggressive expansion into Arab markets.
After a February pipeline explosion cut its gas imports from Egypt for more than a month, Jordan, which imports almost all of its energy resources, decided to diversify its suppliers, the government-run Petra news agency reported earlier this month. Loss of the Egyptian gas cost Jordan about $28 million a week after it changed suppliers, according to the country’s Energy Ministry.
Enter Azerbaijan. An April 14 protocol on economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Jordan includes a framework for discussions about the export of an unspecified amount of Azerbaijani crude oil and natural gas to Jordan.
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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance reporter in Baku and a board member of the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation – Azerbaijan.