Yesterday in Baku, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson met with President Ilham Aliyev and Azeri Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov to strengthen the existing cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan. The two Presidents signed a new Memorandum of Understanding on a Strategic Partnership in the Field of Energy.
Currently, the EU and Azerbaijan are also negotiating a new comprehensive agreement, which will allow for enhanced cooperation in a wide range of areas, including economic diversification, investment, trade and making full use of the potential of civil society, while underscoring importance of human rights and rule of law.
Today the EU-Azerbaijan Cooperation Council is meeting in Brussels to review the overall relations and discuss potential areas of mutual interest for cooperation in the future.
President Ilham Aliyev said, “This memorandum is not the first document that was signed between us. We had MoU signed in 2006 and Joint Declaration on Southern Gas Corridor signed in 2011. So, we have a good history and good achievements. Energy projects initiated by Azerbaijan and supported by the European Union, and supported by our partners completely changed the energy map of Europe. We started with oil production, gas production, and constructing an oil pipeline that connected Caspian with the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Of course, the Southern Gas Corridor, which is a 3,500 km long integrated pipeline system that brings our gas to the European continent. It’s less than two years that the Southern Gas Corridor has been working at full capacity, and all the segments are in place, but already we see the positive benefits of this cooperation. Issues of energy security today are more important than ever before. A long-lasting, predictable and very reliable cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan in the field of energy, of course, is a big asset. This year we started an energy dialogue between the EU and Azerbaijan, which covers many areas, including oil, gas, renewables, hydrogen, energy efficiency and other issues, and the great potential of renewable energy production in Azerbaijan also is appreciated already by the European Union. We have already started projects of investments in wind and solar energy. We have already made the first assessment of our potential. And I can say that in the liberated areas of Karabakh and Eastern Zangazur, the potential of solar and wind power plants is 9,200 megawatts, and the potential of wind in the Caspian Sea is 157 gigawatts. So we have an enormous resource base. Plus, of course, the new gas fields which we will engage in coming years will add to the production of natural gas and using renewables will save more natural gas for export. So, it’s a very advantageous situation built by our efforts and supported by the European Union. Today’s memorandum actually is a kind of a road map for the future. Taking into account all that what we planned before we accomplished, I am sure that we will see great success.”
President von der Leyen said, “Today, with this new Memorandum of Understanding, we are opening a new chapter in our energy cooperation with Azerbaijan, a key partner in our efforts to move away from Russian fossil fuels. Not only are we looking to strengthen our existing partnership which guarantees stable and reliable gas supplies to the EU via the Southern Gas Corridor. We are also laying the foundations of a long-term partnership on energy efficiency and clean energy, as we both pursue the objectives of the Paris Agreement. But energy is only one of the areas where we can enhance our cooperation with Azerbaijan and I look forward to tap the full potential of our relationship”.
Securing alternative gas supplies for Europe
The new Memorandum of Understanding on a Strategic Partnership in the Field of Energy signed by the two Presidents today includes a commitment to double the capacity of the Southern Gas Corridor to deliver at least 20 billion cubic metres to the EU annually by 2027. This will contribute to the diversification objectives in the REPowerEU Plan and help Europe to end its dependency on Russian gas. Based on the strengthened energy cooperation, Azerbaijan is already now increasing deliveries of natural gas to the EU, from 8.1 billion cubic metres in 2021 to an expected 12 bcm in 2022.
Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, said: “The new Memorandum of Understanding underlines the strategic role of the Southern Gas Corridor in our diversification efforts. Azerbaijan has already increased the natural gas deliveries to the EU and this trend will continue, with up to 4 billion cubic meters of additional gas this year and volumes expected to more than double by 2027. But our cooperation goes beyond that, accelerating the deployment of renewables and addressing methane emissions; these steps will both increase security of supply and help achieve our climate goals.”
The EU and Azerbaijan share the ambition to accelerate the development and deployment of renewable energy generation and transmission capacity to fully reap the synergies between the EU’s clean energy transition and Azerbaijan’s strong untapped renewable energy potential, in particular in the offshore energy sector.