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» Azerbaijan’s natural gas enough for neighbors, Europe, says energy minister
14/03/2022 Yazdır

Azerbaijan has enough gas for its neighboring countries, as well as nations in Europe, its energy minister has said.

Amid Russia's war on Ukraine, the US and UK announced a ban on Russian oil and gas as the EU discusses plans to end reliance on Russian gas. Many wonder if Baku can boost gas supplies to help in a smoother transition.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum,​​ Azerbaijan's Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov, said the country has 2.6 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves, which he said is "enough for its neighbors and European countries."

"The expansion of the Southern Gas Corridor project will definitely begin, and in this direction, we have started dialogue with European countries, Western Balkan countries, and other Eastern European countries," Shahbazov continued.

All these consultations will be implemented together with Turkiye, he stressed at the three-day event in the resort city of Antalya

The high-level forum has brought together participants from 75 countries, including 17 heads of state, 80 government ministers, and 39 representatives of international organizations. Anadolu Agency is the forum's global communications partner.

At the eighth Ministerial Meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council, held in Baku last month, around 19 representatives of countries participated, he noted, the participants which included the EU Commissioner and Turkish energy minister agreed on expanding the gas corridor.

"Today, the Southern Gas Corridor project has great perspectives," he said.

"Azerbaijani natural gas is exported to Europe via Turkiye through the TANAP (Trans Anatolian Pipeline) and then the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline), which has a great capacity," he continued.

Shahbazov said Azerbaijan has enough reserves to increase TANAP from 16 billion cubic meters to 31 billion cubic meters and to double the TAP's 10 billion cubic meters.

Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP), the biggest section of the Southern Gas Corridor delivering Shah Deniz 2 gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey and onto Europe through the Trans Adriatic Pipeline project (TAP), brought its first gas to Turkey on July 1, 2018.

Oil prices and OPEC+

Amid the global energy crisis after Russia launched a war on Ukraine, the Azerbaijani energy minister said the OPEC+ organization could not "solve the political events, military conflicts and some other problems in the international arena today."

"OPEC+'s tasks are a little different," Shahbazov continued.

"I think that in the next meetings, the new situation will be discussed and the necessary decisions will be taken for the regulation of the international oil markets."

Turkish-Azerbaijani energy cooperation

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev visited Turkiye on Thursday, where he met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, discussing bilateral ties, the Russia-Ukraine war, and energy.

As issues concerning energy were at the top of the agenda at the meeting, Shahbazov said, the two leaders discussed the Southern Gas Corridor project.

Underlining that energy would be at the center of Turkish-Azerbaijani relations, he said last year's Susha Declaration between the two countries, raising of relations between Turkiye and Azerbaijan to the level of an alliance, was an indication of this.

"Azerbaijan has an estimated $19.3 billion investment in Turkey, of which $17 billion is in energy," he said.

Zangezur corridor

Noting that Azerbaijan plans to build various projects through the Zangezur corridor, Shahbazov said it would be "important not only for Azerbaijan and Turkiye, but also for all countries of the region."

The corridor -- set to be built in the wake of last year's Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, in which Azerbaijan liberated some 300 settlements from Armenian occupation -- is set to connect western Azerbaijan to its autonomous exclave of Nakhchivan.

Stressing that the Zangezur corridor would connect Azerbaijan, Turkiye, Armenia, Russia, and Iran, Shahbazov said it would be "connecting the West and the East."

According to him, it would not only be a logistics and transport corridor, but an energy corridor as well, adding that Zangezur would be used for electricity energy exports.

"At the same time, we have bigger plans for green energy in the future. We intend to use the corridor for these purposes as well," he said.

Shabazov also highlighted Baku's "green energy projects" for the future.

"We also have bigger plans for renewable energy in the Hazar (Caspian) Sea. In the future, Azerbaijan will be a green energy country," he said.