Azerbaijan will be Soon Ready to Sell Gas to European Union: Interview with EU Energy Commissar
Azerbaijan, Baku, 14 October/ Trend , corr A. Badalova/ Interview of Andris Piebalgs, European Energy Commissar with Trend
Question: How has the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict changed the situation in the Caucasus in terms of security of energy resources transportation?
Answer: I think any conflict has security implications, and these are unrestricted to just the energy sector. The EU is promoting stability, democracy and freedom in the Caucasus and in the long-term these are the most important issues for our security. Energy comes someway behind the important issue of finding lasting resolutions of the local conflicts. That these political conflicts exist is a fact; the tangible security situation is no worse than it was before the physical conflict.
Question: How did this conflict affect the further implementation of Nabucco project? What importance does the European Union attach to this project after the events in Georgia?
Answer: Nabucco does not pass through the Caucasus; it stops in Turkey. Connections from the EU to Turkey, the Middle East and the Caspian region are all part of the EU's Southern Gas Corridor, and Nabucco is but one project in this corridor. Others include ITGI, TAP, WhiteStream. The conflict underlines the need for diversification and concentrated minds to see a success of the Corridor. The conflict has accelerated work, rather than slowed it down.
Question: How effective does the European policy to diversify the sources of energy imports advance?
Answer: The EU is making progress in the diversification of its energy mix; the share of renewable energy is growing, as set out in the Energy Policy in 2007. If properly implemented, this policy reduces on the long term the consumption of most fossil fuels and levels out or limits the growth of our import dependence. With regards to gas imports, diversification comes on one hand from the increasing share of Liquified Natural Gas; today nearly 10% of total gas consumption and on the other hand from new pipeline projects in the Southern Corridor. Projects such as Nabucco, ITGI, TAP or Whitestream aim to bring gas from new sources to the EU. Azerbaijan will be soon ready to sell gas to the EU. On the medium and long term Iraq, Egypt, Turkmenistan or Kazakhstan can be expected to become our new partners, and in the very long term, Iran and Qatar too. But to achieve this, more engagement from the EU's side to strengthen co-operation and to support development in these countries is needed.
Question: Is there enough planned new pipeline or is there any necessity for additional routes?
Answer: The evolution of the EU's gas demand and thus the import demand depends on various factors, such as the evolution of energy prices, and the achievement of our goals for 2020: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, to ensure 20% of renewable energy sources in the EU energy mix, to reduce EU primary energy use by 20%. . According to the Primes scenarios, elaborated by the University of Athens for the European Commission, the planned infrastructure projects are largely sufficient to meet additional import needs, if the EU carries out its energy policy or if the price of crude oil remains around 100 dollars until 2020.
The correspondent cane be contacted at: [email protected]