BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 13. Today, when Europe faced serious obstacles in regard with the diversification of gas supplies, Azerbaijan has once again proved itself as a dependable partner and extended a helping hand to its European friends. Looking ahead, President Ilham Aliyev has developed a long-term energy strategy, from which multiple countries currently benefit.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Olaf Scholz in Munich recently, President Ilham Aliyev said that Azerbaijan has already received orders from at least 10 European countries that are eager to get this valuable resource from the Caspian.
"We have been exporting natural gas to Europe for a little more than two years, and these volumes are increasing by the year. There were proposals to start gas supply to some countries or to increase them to countries we are already supplying gas to. According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the European Union last year, we plan to deliver 20 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe by 2027," President Ilham Aliyev said.
Among those 10 countries to request gas from Azerbaijan is Bosnia and Herzegovina. The country has repeatedly expressed its interest to get access to Azerbaijani fossils.
In 2022, Azerbaijan already supplied over 11 bcm to European countries only. The total Azerbaijani gas exports over the last year amounted to 22.6 bcm. This year, Azerbaijan plans to exceed 24 bcm in its gas supplies.
Currently, deliveries of Azerbaijani gas are made under contracts that have already been signed, specifying specific volumes. To meet the growing demand on the market, it is necessary to increase gas production, which is impossible without new agreements. Azerbaijan has great potential to increase gas output from such fields like Absheron, Umid, Babek, Asiman, Shafag and others.
And, indeed, these ambitious plans of Azerbaijan are very much feasible. The Southern gas Corridor (SGC) is a unique global industrial project that provides Azerbaijan with the opportunity to independently export its gas to the European markets. The expansion of SGC, which became operational in 2020, and the expansion of its main parts such as the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and (TANAP), is already underway. Moreover, the construction of more pipelines is also in mind. Thus, there is no need to worry about gas shortages in the long-term.
The project that is of particular interest for Bosnia and Herzegovina is the Ionian Adriatic Pipeline (IAP), which can be connected to TAP. The construction of this pipeline is expected to be completed by 2028. The pipeline with total length of 516 kilometers will stretch from Albania through Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, to split in Croatia. The capacity of the IAP is expected to amount to 5 bcm of gas per year.
Moreover, TAP has already inked relevant documents with the developers of this project, in particular with Plinacro (Croatia), BH-Gas (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Geoplin Plinovodi (Slovenia), as well as with the governments of Montenegro and Albania. Also, a TAP-IAP joint working group has been created, which gathers regularly to synchronize the timing of both pipeline projects and coordinate the technical issues of interconnection.
"The more interconnectors there are, the broader our gas export geography in Europe can be. Of course, long-term contracts should be signed. Because we know very well that there is a tendency to go green in Europe, and we are interested in long-term contracts. I do hope that we can reconcile these issues. At the same time, if we take into account the investment in renewable energy in Azerbaijan, the natural gas currently used for the production of electricity can be exported to Europe, so our future exports could be larger than we envisioned," President Ilham Aliyev said at the joint conference with German chancellor.
The opportunities created today in the oil and gas sector through the successful and multi-faceted policy of President Ilham Aliyev are a glimmer of hope for Europe. Following agreements inked with European countries, Azerbaijan will continue to be a reliable supplier to its partners, and thus, extremely appreciated all over the continent even more. The fair policy has proved effective. Now, the ball is in their court, of those countries that are eager to expand energy cooperation with Azerbaijan.