President Ilham Aliyev's long-term energy strategy saves Europe - Italy thankful for SGC

Economy Materials 17 February 2023 11:40 (UTC +04:00)
President Ilham Aliyev's long-term energy strategy saves Europe - Italy thankful for SGC
Maryana Ahmadova
Maryana Ahmadova
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, February 17. The long-term energy strategy of Azerbaijan has already proved itself as a successful one by securing the European energy market when it faced serious obstacles in diversifying supplies amid the crisis. This is when Azerbaijan came to the rescue by inking a memorandum on doubling energy supplies to the EU from 10 bcm to 20 bcm by 2027.

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.

The issues of energy security play one of the major roles in Azerbaijan-Italian relations. Designed for the potential to supply over 20 bcm of gas, today, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the European section of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), already ensures Italian energy security, covering over 10 percent of the country's gas demand, which is about 10 bcm. The possibility of using TAP for hydrogen supplies would further strengthen energy cooperation between the two countries.

During the groundbreaking ceremony for a 1,280-MW thermal power plant, the construction of which will be carried out together with Italian Ansaldo Energia, President Ilham Aliyev pointed out that the TAP project is a joint success of Azerbaijan and Italy.

"Most of Azerbaijani oil is delivered to the Italian market, and Azerbaijani gas has been delivered to the Italian market for more than two years. Whereas the starting point of the Southern Gas Corridor is Azerbaijan's sector in the Caspian Sea, its end point is Italy, and several countries along the way benefit from Azerbaijan's gas. Taking into account the new needs of Europe and according to the document signed between the European Commission and Azerbaijan last year, we will ensure an increase in the volume of natural gas supplies to Europe. Of course, the issue of doubling the capacity of the TAP is on the agenda now. This issue has been discussed for some time now, including the discussions at the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council held in Baku at the beginning of this month," President Ilham Aliyev said.

As Daniel Pommier Vincelli, a researcher from Italia's Sapienza University, told Trend, working towards the expansion of TAP is one of the main targets for the Italian Government.

"When energy cooperation with Azerbaijan is concerned, Italy looks at it as one of the main targets. As the country strives to get rid of its dependency on Russian gas, it is stipulating bilateral agreements with gas-supplier countries. Today, Azerbaijan provides us with almost 15 percent of our total gas imports. Thus, we are very thankful for TAP and the SGC," he said.

Vincelli noted that the visits of Adolfo Urso, Minister of enterprises and Made in Italy, and Guido Crosetto, Minister of Defense, are of high significance when the world of politics is concerned.

"These two catchers are not simple ministers but big shots in Italian politics. Crosetto is the founder of the Italian largest party – Brothers of Italy – and is considered a mentor to the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. Urso has served as a Member of Parliament for around thirty years, has a long ministerial experience and is considered one of the economic minds of the new government. They were first to visit Azerbaijan not only for the official positions held by the two ministers but for their political role inside Italian politics," he explained.

According to the expert, Azerbaijan is becoming a political and economic leader in the wider region, and its renewable energy strategy is a part of this success.

"Azerbaijan is a coastal country, and its sea, wind, and sun potential could be exploited in different forms. Italy and Azerbaijan are alike in this regard. And both countries have a common target when it comes to renewable energy deployment. Currently, Italy's close to 20 percent of energy consumption stems from renewables, and the country seeks to reach the target of 30 percent by 2030, just like Azerbaijan. Thus, Italy can be of utmost help for Azerbaijan with its technical expertise, so Azerbaijan can reach its local targets and even become a supplier of renewable energy to Europe," Vincelli added.

Vincelli pointed out that by boosting cooperation with Europe, Azerbaijan’s role in the South Caucasus and the wider region will only increase in the near future.

Azerbaijan continues to be a reliable supplier to its partners, with the potential to increase this cooperation further. As a result of a new energy strategy of President Ilham Aliyev, aimed at ensuring the EU's energy security, achieving decarbonization targets, and also strengthening cooperation with the European countries, Azerbaijan is highly valued and appreciated by its partners. Today, all of them are eager to contribute to the development of energy infrastructure, which was first initiated by President Ilham Aliyev, who looked far into the future.