It is hard to tell whether Azerbaijan continues to rely on oil and gas for its claims in international relations but no serious actor has ever taken Azerbaijan’s such arguments seriously and will ever do.
The Caucasian-Caspian energy system was created and works under high risks and threats, claims and aggressive intentions, as well as military actions. The situation is similar in other regions too where projects of oil and gas extraction and transportation have been implemented, and the Caucasian-Caspian region is not different from this point of view.
The interested powers and companies will operate their businesses until the end, i.e. until the full consumption of carbohydrates in the region, without addressing the problems of Georgia and Azerbaijan (unless the government of Armenia has the brains and nerve).
The attempt to normalize the Armenian-Turkish relations indicated that nobody takes the interests of Azerbaijan seriously, and the references to Azerbaijan’s interests are simply arguments that suit the Turkish diplomacy that is guided by not only Azerbaijan’s but also its own strategic interests.
Azerbaijan was in a rather complicated situation, and the failure of the attempt to open the Armenian-Turkish border did not make it happy because there was uncertainty ahead. At that time, Russia considered the situation suitable for rapprochement with Azerbaijan and to gain new advantage with prejudice to Armenia.
The Russian politicians did not learn a lesson from the failure of the shameful attempts to come to an agreement with Azerbaijan in 2008 against Armenia’s interests that ended up in the empty agreement of Meindorf, and they continued to insist on their scheme of the “Karabakh settlement”.
This “settlement” was, one way or another, doomed to failure, and Azerbaijan hardly had serious hopes for Russia’s assistance.
In this case it is about the re-orientation of Azerbaijan because Baku has realized that the monopolistic schemes of transportation of energy resources lead to loss of the possibility for a foreign political maneuver. With one-sided oil and gas transportation Azerbaijan even lost its arguments for building relations with Turkey, which did not fit the ambitions of the Azerbaijani government.
Currently the Azerbaijani oil is losing its share in the global energy market. At least, Azerbaijan has not just lost part of its revenues but ran into the de-politicization of the Azerbaijani factor.
Azerbaijan again aspired for the role of an important supplier of energy resources, this time of gas. However, in this case too, its gas has a “complementary”, not a main role because Europe has gained new global sources and new ways of getting gas.
Besides, Azerbaijan enters into a competition with Russia which is trying to get the South Stream as a global project. It has the same route as the Azerbaijani gas.
In the United States the supporters of opening oil wells and boosting oil extraction have come to government, which will lead to a wave of dropping prices of oil. The major problems have already been implemented, and America will get the oil of Canada and other far regions. Encouraged by this, the oil companies will boost oil extraction in different regions.
This is harm to the interests of Russia and Azerbaijan. At least, the new technique which is intended to push oil out of the international balance will not lose its importance. A gas project like the oil pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan will not have an impact on the foreign political issues of Azerbaijan. It should be noted that the prepayment for the settlement of the Karabakh issue that Moscow, not the government of Azerbaijan sends is for “internal consumption” and is just propaganda.
In fact, neither Russia, nor Azerbaijan views the “Karabakh settlement” as a major issue which must be resolved in the result of a possible gas deal. But the very circumstance may lead to hopes for a Russian-Azerbaijani gas deal, at least in a scale that will allow thwarting the Azerbaijan-Europe project and strengthen Russia’s role in the global gas balance.
As to the Karabakh issue, if Russia goes too deep into this issue outside the scope of the Minsk Group, Russia’s strategic positions in the South Caucasus will be disorganized. Russia cannot hope for the next 2-3 decades that it may change fundamentally the arrangement of forces in the South Caucasus but there are real opportunities to re-orient Azerbaijan in the gas game.
Currently, Azerbaijan is facing the issue of costs of acquiring arms. At least, a lasting period of this issue has started which will not be easy to survive.