BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec. 15
This year we already exported to the EU, more than 7 billion cubic meters of gas. Next year we plan 9, in 2023 we plan 11, and it can grow, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said in an interview to the Spanish El Pais newspaper, Trend reports.
“We are working actively on diversification of our economy and to reduce dependence on oil and gas. If you look at the structure of our GDP the oil and gas factor is less than 50 percent. But in our export, of course, these are the main products of our export and the export is growing with respect to natural gas. There is current gas price crisis if I may call it, so, I don’t know. Frankly speaking I’m not interested what is a reason. What were we doing? We were just doing our homework, we were attracting multi-billion investments to oil and gas sector and working on one of the major infrastructure projects of the 21st century, Southern Gas Corridor, which was completed on the last day of the last year. The fourth segment of that project, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline was commissioned on 31st December 2020. Since that time, our exports to Europe stopped. Before that, our exports were going primarily to Turkey and to Georgia. So, now among recipients of our gas the biggest is Italy among EU countries, Greece and Bulgaria. And there is a potential to expand the geography. This year we already exported to the EU, more than 7 billion cubic meters of gas. Next year we plan 9, in 2023 we plan 11, and it can grow. But of course, you know that the gas market is different from oil market, you need to have contracts. All the gas which we now extract for export have been contracted before we inaugurated the pipeline. So, that is how gas business works. Therefore, for us in order to plan increase of production, or to plan cooperation with new members of EU, we need to engage in negotiations, on practical level, and to evaluate the potential of that party, evaluate the connectivity of gas infrastructure systems in Europe. I know that now the work is going in order to make more connections and to plan, because our gas is sold on the long-term contracts and we obey to the contracts hundred percent. So, Azerbaijan is a reliable partner for EU and this issue, of course, is permanently on our agenda. So, my assessment is that we have huge deposits of natural gas, we have a shorter transportation route than the traditional suppliers of the natural gas to Europe. Our gas is new, for European market, because as you said production in EU and some European countries not members of EU is going down. We all know that demand for natural gas in Europe will grow, because of some decisions made by some countries with respect to their energy strategy, and Azerbaijan here as a reliable partner, as a friend to Europe, as a county which already completed all the infrastructure works. Imagine, 3,500 kilometers of pipeline from Baku to Italy, part of it goes under the sea, was done. Everything is ready and gas is coming. So, only what we need to do, is to engage closely with the European Commission, and with member states those who want to get more gas from us or those who want to get new gas from us, and to start negotiations,” the head of state said.