Weekly actual topics in Azerbaijan (Apr.20-24)
Europe getting Azerbaijan involved in its gas war
The gas war of Europe with Russia enters a new phase, and Azerbaijan plays a strategic role in this confrontation.
Vice-President for Energy Union of the European Commission Maros Sefcovic said in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper that the European Commission proposed Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to update the memorandum of understanding on laying the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline.
In addition, Sefcovic said that one can also expect gas supplies from Iraq and Iran within the framework of the Southern Gas Corridor project.
Today, it is vital for Europe, in order to ensure its energy security, to deliver significant volumes of gas to its southern borders, exceeding 10 billion cubic meters by several times - an amount Azerbaijan is ready to supply.
This issue is especially important in the light of the latest remarks by the head of Russia's Gazprom company Alexey Miller saying that the pumping of Russian gas through Ukraine's territory will be suspended after 2019 and Russia will deliver around 50 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe's south border. Moscow believes that Europe will have no option other than buying this gas. If Brussels doesn't deliver the comparable volume in the same direction, that is what will likely happen.
In order to resolve this issue, the EU needs to find new sources of energy supply. The following countries can be such sources:
- Turkmenistan - by laying Trans-Caspian gas pipeline (to the border with Azerbaijan)
- Iran - by joining the Southern Gas Corridor (in Azerbaijan or in Turkey)
- Iraq - by joining the TANAP gas pipeline (Azerbaijan owns 58-percent share in this project).
All these projects are either being implemented or being planned taking into account Azerbaijan's participation, which makes the country strategically important both for Europe and for any alternative gas supplier to the EU.
Except for the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline, these projects don't require any other additional work and investments from Baku.
In any of these projects, Azerbaijan will get extra revenues from the transit either through its own territory, or via the infrastructure owned by it in any other country.
So, the desire and actions of Brussels to ensure the energy security of Europe will bring significant dividends to Azerbaijan without having to spend additional money.