The EU signs an agreement with Azerbaijan to double the gas it receives

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  • Baku is committed to increasing supply and reaching 20 billion cubic meters per year in the coming years compared to 8.1 billion in 2021

  • The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, defines the Asian country as a “crucial” and “reliable” energy partner, unlike Russia

The EU signs an agreement with Azerbaijan to double the gas it receives

Given the increasingly real threat that Russia turns off the gas tap, -has already totally or partially reduced the supply to 12 Member States- Brussels has been negotiating with other producing countries for months to try to replace Moscow. as supplier of this energy source. Last March it closed An agreement was reached with the United States to increase shipments by an additional 15,000 million cubic meters this year. In May, a memorandum with Egypt and Israel to import liquefied natural gas. In June it was Norway who committed to to increase your deliveries. Starting this Monday, the European Union (EU) adds one more notch to its “reliable” to continue becoming energetically independent from the Kremlin as soon as possible: Azerbaijan. According to the agreement announced from Baku by the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the former Soviet republic will multiply supply to the EU to reach at least 20,000 million cubic meters per year in the coming years.

“The EU has decided to diversify away from Russia and turn to reliable and trustworthy suppliers and I am glad to count Azerbaijan among them. It is a crucial energy partner for us”, Von der Leyen stressed during a brief speech in Baku after the signing of a memorandum of understanding on energy matters with President Ilham Aliyev. >. Of the 22 billion cubic meters exported last year by Azerbaijan, a total of 8.1 billion were shipped to Europe. “It is a very important supply route for the EU, which currently supplies more than 8 billion cubic meters of gas a year. We will expand its capacity to 20 billion cubic meters within a few years. And from next year we should already reach 12,000 million cubic meters”, explained the German about an additional volume of 4,000 million cubic meters until the end of this 2022 to compensate for the cuts in Moscow.

Expansion of the southern corridor

The agreement also seeks to expand the Southern Gas Corridor. It is an important supply route made up of 3,500 kilometers of pipelines that carries gas from the Caspian Sea fields to Europe. It does so through the Trans Adriatic gas pipeline that supplies Italy, Greece and Bulgaria. This last European country was precisely one of the first partners whom Moscow cut the supply together withPolandfor not paying for fuel in rubles. A warning to sailors that has led Brussels to speed up talks with third countries – this week the community experts will travel to Nigeria – to replace two thirds of Russian gas -155,000 million cu. Bicos in 2021- already this year.

And for now, according to sources from the Community Executive, it is on the right track. Until this year, the EU imported from Russia 40% of natural gasthat consumes That percentage has been reduced to 20% during this first half of 2022, either because imports from alternative suppliers have increased or because of unilateral cuts by Gazprom. “Part of the irony of the current situation is that Russia, in an unplanned and unilateral way, is withdrawing from several of the contracts that are causing some of the market chaos we are seeing today,” they explain. community fonts.

Only through the Nordstream1 pipeline, which unites Russia and Germany, the shipments of the Russian gas company have fallen by 60% this year and “there are no reasons to think that this trend will not continue”, maintain sources from the Executive who consider “successful ” the diversification campaign launched at the beginning of the year. According to the figures handled by the Commission, imports from non-Russian suppliers increased by 21,000 million cubic meters this year (compared to the same period of the previous year) and shipments by pipeline, from countries such as Norway, North Africa or the Caspian Sea, grew by 14,000 cubic meters. During the same period, Russia's pipeline imports, by contrast, fell by 28 billion cubic meters to about 45 billion.

Renewables Provider

The agreement with Azerbaijan does not only talk about gas. It is also committed to reinforcing cooperation in the area of ​​renewable energies, to take advantage of its potential in wind, solar and green hydrogen energy and turn the country into a the future as a supplier of renewable energy, and for curbing methane emissions. In this field, the agreement includes commitments to reduce this type of emissionsthroughout the gas supply chain and Brussels is confident that Baku will join the gas supply chain. It joined the list of 119 countries that are part of the Global Methane Commitment.

In parallel, the EU and Azerbaijan continue to negotiate a bilateral cooperation agreement that They hope to conclude soon and with which to relaunch even more commercial relations. The EU is the country's main partner, its main export destination and one of its main sources of financing. Until 2024, the EU will invest 60 million euros in the country and the potential, through the economic and investment plan, as Von der Leyen has recalled, is enormous. “In order to realize the full potential of Azerbaijan, it is important to create the right conditions for investor confidence. This includes greater participation of civil society and free and independent media & rdquor ;, he recalled.

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