BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 10. Azerbaijan supplies natural gas to a very important region in Europe, the former US ambassador to Azerbaijan, Matthew Bryza told Trend.
“Europe embraces the Southern Gas Corridor as its own project. Southern Gas Corridor is very important to European natural gas supplies. It is true that the percentage of natural gas supply by Azerbaijan through the Southern Gas Corridor to the EU is small, it is 10 bcm and last year Russia supplied 155 bcm to EU. But Azerbaijan supplies that gas to very important region – not only Greece and Italy, but also Bulgaria through the interconnector with Greece (IGB), which will be operating later this year, maybe in September. Once you have gas flowing from Azerbaijan into that area, it is able to break the monopoly that Russian has had on supplying those regions,” said the former ambassador.
Bryza pointed out that today the Bulgarian government is trying to clean up the energy sector and attract liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US and of course from Azerbaijan with the possibility of natural gas imports from Greece, Turkey and soon from Albania.
“All of this will help a real market based on supply and demand. As market forces take over in Bulgaria and elsewhere in the Balkans, we will see that the rest of the EU will also become much stronger and much more courageous in protecting itself against monopoly. Finally, keep in mind that the Southern Gas Corridor’s capacity can be doubled. TANAP is operating at around 40-45 percent of its capacity and there are plans already underway to expand, to double the capacity of TAP from 10 bcm to 20 bcm. That all depends on the gas being available, that’s why it is so important for Azerbaijan to be able to produce more natural gas and to attract some gas from the other side of the Caspian Sea, from Turkmenistan,” he concluded.
The supply of Azerbaijani gas to Europe through the Southern Gas Corridor began on December 31, 2020. Azerbaijan exported its natural gas to the European market through pipelines for the first time in history.
Azerbaijan has diversified its export opportunities with direct access to the European market, which is the world's largest importer of natural gas.
The Trans Adriatic pipeline (TAP) which is the European part of the Southern Gas Corridor, will annually supply eight billion cubic meters of gas to Italy and one billion cubic meters of gas to Greece and Bulgaria.
Follow the author on Twitter: @Lyaman_Zeyn