BAKU, Azerbaijan, Feb.3. Romgaz and SOCAR intend to improve the mechanisms for the delivery of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Romania, said Romania’s Minister of Energy Virgil Daniel-Popescu in an exclusive interview with Trend.
He recalled that on 19th October 2022, Romanian natural gas producer Romgaz signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Azerbaijan's national oil company SOCAR to explore the opportunity of jointly developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the Black Sea.
“The project would include a natural gas liquefaction terminal and a regasification terminal, as well as other facilities and installations needed to transport gas from the Caspian Sea basin to Romania. Also in December 2022, Romgaz and SOCAR TRADING, a subsidiary of the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan, signed the first individual contract for the delivery of gas from Azerbaijan to Romania. The individual contract allows for scheduled gas deliveries from 1 January 2023 through the Southern Corridor using the transmission capacities of the TAP and IGB pipelines and the transmission systems in Bulgaria and Romania. The contract is based on the Memorandum of Understanding recently concluded between the two companies, with an unlimited term. The signing of this contract ensures the possibility to acquire volumes of natural gas from Azerbaijan to meet potential consumption needs with imported gas. The contract thus serves the strategic objectives of security of supply and diversification of gas sources,” said the minister.
Virgil Daniel-Popescu went on to add that the Memorandum of Understanding for natural gas supplies from Azerbaijan as well as this first individual contract are the result of an excellent cooperation between Romgaz and SOCAR, initiated earlier in 2022 and formalized by the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding.
“The parties intend to continue their cooperation and to improve the mechanisms for the delivery of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Romania,” the minister said.
Virgil Daniel-Popescu pointed out that the start of gas deliveries from Azerbaijan to Europe has been an important achievement, owing to joint efforts of all countries involved in the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor, and also an extremely important turning point for the European energy landscape in terms of diversification of gas supply sources and routes.
“In July 2022, the European Commission signed with Azerbaijan a Memorandum of Understanding to double imports of Azerbaijani natural gas to at least 20 billion cubic meters per year by 2027. The decision was taken as part of a wider policy to move away from fossil fuels from the Russian Federation. Romania has a solid Strategic Partnership with Azerbaijan since 2009. Our country has intensified the efforts to find alternative routes and sources for energy, while providing support in this field for our neighbors Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. The Southern Gas Corridor is a project that Romania has consistently supported since its inception, and which has taken shape every year, proving its growing importance for Europe's energy security,” he added.
Green energy prospects
Romania has already held talks with companies to invest in green energy project with Azerbaijan, said Virgil Daniel-Popescu.
He recalled that Romania, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Hungary signed on 17th December 2022 the Agreement on Strategic Partnership in Green Energy Development and Transport. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban signed the agreement in Bucharest. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen attended the signing ceremony.
“The agreement is based on the four countries' interests in strengthening national and regional energy security and connectivity in the Black Sea basin, diversifying sources of supply, harnessing the potential for renewable energy production in the Caspian region and increasing the share of renewable energy in the national energy mix. The quadrilateral intergovernmental agreement will provide the financial and technical framework for the implementation of the submarine renewable electricity transmission cable project between Romania and Azerbaijan via Georgia and the Black Sea, and subsequently for the transmission of this energy to Hungary and the rest of Europe via the European transmission system,” said the minister.
He noted that Romania is playing an active role, has initiated negotiations for this important project and the authorities have already held talks with companies to invest in the project.
“Through this project, Romania also wants to strengthen energy security for the countries in the region,” Virgil Daniel-Popescu added.
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