I have no doubts that Russia might increase the natural gas prices for CIS countries in future, Azerbaijani Minister of Industry and Energy, Natik Aliyev told Trend. That is why Azerbaijan now holding talks with Iran on the purchase of 1bln m2 of gas annually. This will make us more flexible in negotiations with Russia, the Minister stated. Besides, gas supplies from Iran will allow developing alternative gas supplies for the country `s domestic needs.
Azerbaijan is now conducting energy exchange with Iran, and operations are taking place to pay for the Iranian gas supplied to the Nahchivan Autonomous Republic. Measures are undertaken to increase these supplies. Talks are going on to expand the Iranian gas supplies to Azerbaijan. SOCAR and Azerigas are running the negotiations. More agreements are expected to be signed soon, Aliyev said.
Gas purchases from Iran will depend on its cost. Georgia has purchased Iranian gas this winter for $110-$120, transporting it via Azerbaijan. Supplies of Iranian gas would effectively satisfy needs of the country if Azerbaijan will be capable to decrease this price.
Besides, Azerbaijan can play a role of a transit country, the minister said. Iran has huge plans of gas supplies to Georgia. It also plans to supply gas to Ukraine and other countries via Georgia.
On the other hand Azerbaijan has its own gas program. According to the program SOCAR is expected to step up the gas extraction in the course of next 2-3 years in 2bln of m3 a year. Nowadays, Shah-Deniz is not the only gas deposit of Azerbaijan, the minister said. There are large gas deposits at Guneshli, 8th of March, Bachar and some other fields. Azerbaijan has all potential needed to increase the gas extraction at these fields, he concluded.