ВыступленияВыступление на Международной конференции “Нефть и Газ: новые мировые тенденции, вызовы и возможности” в Тегеране
21.11.2006

Экс-премьер-министр Армен Дарбинян на Международной конференции: «Нефть и Газ: новые мировые тенденции, вызовы и возможности»

По приглашению Министра топлива Ирана и Иранского Национального Института Исследований в области энергетики Экс-премьер-министр Армении А.Р. Дарбинян отбыл в Иран для участия в Международной Конференции на тему: «Нефть и Газ: новые мировые тенденции, вызовы и возможности». Конференция проходила в Тегеране 20-21 ноября в Тегеране. Конференция, в которой участвуют ведущие мировые эксперты в области энергетики, а также представители крупнейших нефтяных и газовых компаний мира, посвящена анализу современных тенденций в мировой торговле, влиянию политики в принятии решений в области разработки нефтяных и газовых месторождений, взаимной зависимости мировых производителей и потребителей нефти и газа, возможностям повышения безопасности и предсказуемости мирового рынка энергоносителей.
На конференции с докладами выступили официальные представители правительства Ирана: Министр иностранных дел г-н Моттаки, Министр топлива г-н Вазири Аманеи, Министр экономического развития и финансов г-н Данем Гжафари. Предлагаем вашему вниманию текст выступления А.Р. Дарбиняна.

Excellences,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honor for me to be here and to deliver a speech on enhancing regional opportunities in Energy Sector.

The Iranian institute for international Energy Studies is really doing an excellent job: the traditional annual conferences devoted to analyzing new developments in World Oil and Gas have definitely became an outstanding regional forum for policy makers, business society and experts to share views and approaches on key issues of forthcoming developments – and my sincere thanks for that to the organizers of this particular conference. I also brought with me the deepest respect and love the people in Armenia express towards Islamic Republic Iran and the people of Iran.

The recent developments in a World show that the Energy sector, Oil and Gas issues are becoming core points in political decision-making – and not depending on whether the said country is exporter or only a consumer of energy resources the necessity of protecting national interests pushes the country to be anyhow within the energy game. And my understanding is that the world should formulate the General Principles and Approaches which any country should follow in protecting and developing its’ own interests. Unfortunately, we do not have such a comprehensive code of Rules and Regulations which apply transparently to countries’ behaviors and their standpoints for approving any action not depending on whether it concerns their positions in negotiations or reflects their concrete steps in Energy dialogue.
Of course, we do have some common rules and regulations, but they either apply to specific groups of countries, which are unified by a specific feature – for example, OPEC – as an organization unifying the interests of exporters, - or they might put together countries of a said region and unify some procedural aspects of their behavior – such as a European Energy Charter Treaty – and still, they are not fundamental enough and they do not cover all the regions and countries involved.

So I would try to specify some fundamental principles which any country should follow in developing of its’ Oil and Gas strategy.

The first principle is to consider the World as a single and indivisible whole, where the God has placed and allocated reservoirs with Oil and Gas in some concrete and blessed territories but for a common use. Indeed, we can hardly find a producer country which is aimed at consuming of whatever volume is produced: the concept of sharing of resources in a mutually beneficial way was put in a socle of Human Civilization by Creator from the very beginning. So, the political use of Energy resources is something absolutely not permitted by Creator, and the dominating behavior should be to help each other in finding the most efficient way of using of existing resources for the general benefit of the World. In addition to that we should stress on that a geographical location is a status granted by the God for the said countries’ participation in a general concept of sharing and it is not an advantage the countries should exploit for making political pressures to neighbors. And the said is true not only for producers but also for transit countries. The transit should be understood mostly as a liability to be taken, of course, with an adequate observance of interests – rather than an asset to be sold at a political price.

The second principle would be to achieve an harmonious interdependence of the countries involved instead of trying to create an illusive independence. There can not be a single country which can create a totally independent structure of Energy supply or demand. The category of "Safety" similarly applies, both to delivery and consumption sides of a deal. The Safety in consuming and demanding side together with a predictability of consuming markets becomes not less important these times than a Safety in delivering and supplying side together with general perspectives of increasing of exploring and production of Oil and Gas and constructing new pipelines. We should finally understand that from now on there can be no "winners" and "losers" in different sides of a deal, and in order to make a final deal we have to achieve a win-win situation. So, an harmonious interdependence is the second general principle we have to follow.

The next principle I would propose is to try to find similarities in interests rather than to concentrate on differences. We can simply pull out number of differences in approaches and interests of different countries in Oil and Gas issues, and these differences can simply destroy our willingness to cooperate and to find common solutions for the existing problems.

The similarities could be definitely found not only between countries which are in the same group of either exporters or importers of Oil and Gas but also between countries which belong to different groups. Stability in a World market, enhancing of a volume of exploring of minerals, using of new technologies in exploring, constructing and building of pipelines – these are the issues which prove the existence of big similarities in interests of different countries, and the task for decision makers here is to clearly identify them and base on them in further actions.

The fourth principle is to protect an undicussable right of any country to participate, of course, in a competitive way in energy projects which are related to a region they represent and which makes their involvement reasonable. There should not be restrictions imposed due to political reasons, and a country should not be excluded from a cooperation program only because it represents a different culture or it has its own understandings on what is good and what is bad for regional developments. So, any application of any country for participating in any regional energy project should be taken to a consideration on a competitive basis, and the country’s proposal could be refused based only on considerations of Business expediency.

And, finally, the fifth principle is to consider technical progress as an asset for a whole humanity and not as an advantage for selected nations. The history of civilizations shows that the nations aimed at achieving technical progress sooner or later reach that status, and there should not be a kind of an elite membership in a "club of technically advanced countries". There is no ways of stopping scientific researches and movement towards technical progress.

So, let me come now to a point of recent developments in energy sector in our region and see, how the represented principles apply or do not apply to a case.

The first case I want to mention is a Gas pipeline from Iran to Armenia. There is a strong interest of two countries to build a pipeline which could cover not only Armenian needs for a Gas delivery, but also be as a basis for a wider project of enhancing export opportunities for Iran with Armenia’s becoming a transit country. There is an interest expressed by Ukraine and other Europeans in receiving Iranian Gas, but there is also an obstacle in a form of a position of a Russian "GAZPROM", which doesn’t want to have more competitors in European markets, and being a major operator in Armenia "GAZPROM" at least not happy with constructing of a pipeline with an adequate size.

But we know at the same time that there is a strong interest of Russia in enhancing energy cooperation with Iran especially in constructing nuclear power plants. So, this is the case where we should call for searching similarities in interests rather than being concentrated on differences in approaches.

And I’m sure that the pipeline in question will be definitely built on a basis of a harmonious interdependence. The point is that it would have been better to harmonize interests before rather than to see them in contradiction and try to find solutions afterwards.

The next case I want to mention is a Baku – Geichan Oil pipeline which puts Armenia aside of the game despite the fact that passing through Armenia would have been much more reasonable in economic terms, than a way finally approved by participating countries and investors. Armenia has stated repeatedly its full readiness to guarantee the safe operation of a pipeline in it’s territory, but nevertheless participating countries have decided to do another way and Armenia’s possible involvement in the project was not considered on a competitive bases.

Another problem is a tension appeared in relations between Russia and Georgia and an assumption that Russia is currently following a concept of implementation of a so-called "Gas or Diplomacy". The proposal to sharply increase a price for a Gas delivery and possible refusal of Georgia will put Armenia in a very difficult situation on the threshold of a coming winter, because the pipeline comes to Armenia through Georgia, and there are no guarantees of delivery of a contracted volume. So, we see how the politization of a Gas delivery contract and exploitation of a geographical location might bring to a systemic regional problem.

As for technical progress implementation we, Armenians, are faced with a very tough western position on the necessity to close the nuclear power plant and replace it with other sources of electricity production. And the questions here is: why Armenia should be kept away from constructing of a new nuclear station, while we have an experience of professionally exploiting one since 1976, and Armenian professionals and the people have proved their qualification and abilities to manage a station and to take a responsibility over its’ operation? Sharing the MAGATE’s position in bringing the Safety level of a nuclear power plant to internationally recognized standards I want to stress on the necessity of developing of a practice of operation of a nuclear power plant and protecting our rights to produce a nuclear electricity.

Unfortunately, this list of artificially created problems could be easily continued having other regions as an example as well – and this stresses on again the necessity to follow the general principles mentioned above.

Coming to a cooperation level between Armenia and Iran I have to express my delight with a high degree of mutual understanding, frankness and collaboration existed. We have enhanced technical capacities for electricity exchange by constructing of a second 220KV high voltage electricity line. A Gas pipeline is under construction. A plan of constructing of a cascade of hydro-electric stations on the river Araks is under consideration with starting point of a Meghri Station with 140 Megawatts of capacity. The first wind power-station is established in Armenia with a big support of Iranian government - a wonderful example of neighborhood and cooperation!

But we can - and we have to do more – in regional terms. We have to implement a synchronization of energy systems in Caucasian States with the systems in Iran and Turkey. We can definitely find an efficient way of developing a trilateral cooperation between Iran, Armenia and Russia – and this cooperation has a significant potential to grow…

An armenian experience of overcoming the systemic energy crisis of 1991-1996 could also be very instructive: we can hardly find a single country reached a status of energy exporter with a surplus of produced electricity over the consumption needs of a country in four years of reforms in energy sector – it is a real success story, and this experience could be widely used by other countries with energy deficit.

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Concluding my speech I want to remind a famous Persian proverb which says: "Having one hundred friends is not too much. Having one enemy is too much". We all have to do our best to enhance friendship and cooperation, to establish transparent and predictable rules of behavior in our dealings with such insidious categories as Oil and Gas.

Thank you.