They got the red carpet out in Baku to welcome Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and it has certainly been worth it.
Azerbaijan has signed a deal doubling its gas exports to Russia to two billion cubic metres a year.
Both leaders welcomed their countries’ growing economic ties and insisted the agreement was not aimed at scuppering any rival project.
“We must take care of our economic interests because this is where money is earned.” Medvedev told the assembled dignitaries.
But this could be bad news for the EU’s Nabucco pipeline. The project aims to bring gas from the Caspian region to Europe through Turkey, to sidestep supplies from Russia’s rival South Stream. But Nabucco is having problems finding suppliers and industry experts say Russia’s move to lock in more Azeri gas may put an additional source off-limits.
Strategically located and rich in energy resources, Azerbaijan has been courted by Russia and the West since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.