"Thank you for the invitation to speak to this year's Regional Energy Security Symposium. I would also like to thank the Naval Postgraduate School, ADA University, SOCAR, and BP for their successful and continued collaboration on promoting regional energy security. I have spoken at this forum every year since my arrival in Baku in 2019, and l'm pleased to have the opportunity once again to reinforce our support for Azerbaijan's sovereignty, independence, and contributions to European energy security. A lot has happened this past year in the energy sector. First, I want to congratulate Azerbaijan, SOCAR, and BP on the completion of the Southern Gas Corridor, a project that will support European energy security for decades to come. The Southern Gas Corridor is a testament to what can be achieved when government vision, political will, international collaboration, and private sector ingenuity come together. More importantly, the Southern Gas Corridor places Azerbaijan and SOCAR in the forefront of energy security for many of our allies and partners," said US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Lee Litzenberger at the 2021 Naval Postgraduate School Regional Energy Security Symposium held in Baku on September 10, 2021, ONA reports.
"I want to reaffirm U.S. support for the Southern Gas Corridor and Azerbaijan's efforts to expand deliveries into new European markets. The United States has an interest in supporting the delivery of Azerbaijan's energy supplies to puokaq pur adamg As energy markets become more integrated, the security of critical infrastructure and supply routes has become increasingly important. Over the years, Azerbaijan, together with its commercial and strategic partners, has built resilient energy infrastructure.
This includes our own partnership on Azerbaijan's Oil Platform Defense Project. This S21.5 million initiative provides training and maritime equipment to Azerbaijan's State Border Service. This enables our Azerbaijani partners to better protect their offshore assets from potential threats. Energy disruptions of any kind can raise major challenges. As we saw this past year with the pandemic, shocks to energy markets are often unforeseeable and can have a lasting impact. The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on global energy markets was unprecedented. Oil and gas demand plummeted to record lows last year. Ongoing measures to contain the spread of the virus continue to distort the market. For hydrocarbon exporters and consumers alike, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of diversified energy markets and accelerated the push to adopt renewable technologies. When the Biden Administration took office in January of this year, the President made it clear that climate change and advancement of renewable technologies will be among the issues front and center in U.S. foreign policy, As a testament to that commitment, President Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office for the United States to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change. The United States is dedicated to advancing renewable energy in global markets and reducing carbon emissions. And the United States, with our partners in the G7 and beyond, will continue to support the development of renewable energy infrastructure and technology around the world. Azerbaijan has tremendous solar and wind energy potential. More importantly, the basic infrastructure is in place for Azerbaijan to become a future supplier of hydrogen to European markets. New wind and solar projects demonstrate Azerbaijan's commitment to diversifying its energy resources and its willingness to play an active role in the fight against climate change. Market-based reforms in Azerbaijan's electricity sector are important to make renewables more price competitive and accelerate the transition to green technologies.
Attracting private investment will also be key for Azerbaijan to continue to build its renewables capacity. An open and transparent tendering process is needed to create the right investment climate for foreign entities interested in Azerbaijan's renewables sector. The United States has expertise in advanced renewable technologies. U.S. companies are prepared to partner with Azerbaijan to bring renewables to the market. I know Azerbaijan has projects planned for the newly returned territories and throughout the rest of the country. The best way to get U.S. companies involved is through an open and transparent tender process. Azerbaijan's energy sector has been transformative for the country and for European energy security. By growing its renewable energy potential, Azerbaijan can build upon its role as an important player in energy security in the region and beyond. Let me end by saying that the United States stands ready to continue to support the growth and development of Azerbaijan's energy sector and its important contributions to energy security. I hope the presentations and discussions this week have helped inform your own efforts to advance energy security in the region and around the world," said Ambassador.