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Azerbaijan's energy strategy boosts regional influence and export prospects

30 April 2024 [15:19] - TODAY.AZ

By Nazrin Abdullayeva, AZERNEWS

Azerbaijan's strategic energy policies are yielding significant dividends, as evidenced by increasing demand for its energy resources both domestically and abroad, particularly in the Balkan region. Over recent years, several Balkan countries have begun importing Azerbaijani natural gas, reflecting the growing interest and reliance on Azerbaijan's energy sector.

A milestone in this trajectory is the Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Partnership in the field of energy between Azerbaijan and the European Union. This agreement, signed with foresight, aims to double the volume of Azerbaijani natural gas exported to the EU by 2027, indicating a substantial commitment to bolstering energy ties with Europe.

With Azerbaijan commencing gas exports to Europe in December 2020, the proposed increase in volume underscores the success of the country's energy policies.

According to Vitaly Baylarbeyov, Deputy Vice President of SOCAR, plans are underway to ramp up gas exports to Southeastern Europe from the current 12 billion cubic metres to 14 billion cubic metres within the next two years, with further expansions anticipated post-2026.

Projections indicate that gas exports could soar to 20 billion cubic metres by 2027.

However, amidst these ambitious export plans, a report by the country risk group Fitch Solutions notes that Azerbaijan may need to increase gas imports from Russia to meet domestic demands.

In a comment for Azernews on the issue, economist expert Rashad Hasanov said that this is not a risk indicator.

"The importance of enhancing production capacity and employing efficient technologies to optimise gas utilisation."

Speculating on Azerbaijan's energy future, Hasanov emphasised the nation's geostrategic position and robust transmission infrastructure, which create favourable conditions for expanding trade markets.

"Azerbaijan cooperates with a number of countries on oil and gas trade. Azerbaijan is both a producer of gas and a country that produces energy. It is engaged in oil and gas trade not only with Europe but also with countries such as Turkiye, Russia, Iran, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan."

"Even these days, there are discussions about buying and selling Libyan oil by Azerbaijani companies," the expert added.

It is worth noting that this sentiment aligns with recent developments, such as Kazakhstan's plan to export 1.5 million tonnes of oil through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, further enhancing Azerbaijan's regional energy influence.

Additionally, the imminent completion of the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline (TAP) expansion project by the end of 2025 will facilitate increased Azerbaijani gas exports to Italy and Albania.

Furthermore, the "Ring of Solidarity" project, initiated through a memorandum signed between Azerbaijan's SOCAR and gas transmission operators in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia, underscores Azerbaijan's commitment to enhancing energy cooperation and diversifying supply routes to Europe.

As Azerbaijan continues to assert its presence in the global energy landscape, these developments underscore the nation's pivotal role in ensuring energy security and fostering regional cooperation.


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