Today (18 July), in Baku, President Ursula von der Leyen of the Commission and Kadri Simson, Energy Commissioner, met with President Ilham Alyev and Parviz Shahbazov (Azeri Energy Minister) to enhance the co-operation between the EU & Azerbaijan. They signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding a Strategic Partnership for Energy.
Azerbaijan and the EU are currently negotiating a comprehensive agreement. This will enable enhanced cooperation in many areas including trade, economic diversification, investment and making full use the potential of civil societies. It will also emphasize the importance of human rights, rule of law, and rule of laws.
The EU-Azerbaijan Cooperation Council will be meeting in Brussels on 19 July to review relations and identify areas for future cooperation.
President von Der Leyen stated: “Today, we are opening an entirely new chapter in energy cooperation with Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is a key partner in the efforts to shift away from Russian fossil fuels. We are not only looking to consolidate our existing partnership that ensures stable and reliable gas supply to the EU via Southern Gas Corridor. As we pursue the Paris Agreement objectives, we are also building the foundations for a long-term partnership in energy efficiency and clean energies. However, energy is just one area where we can improve our cooperation with Azerbaijan. I look forward to tapping the full potential of our partnership.”
Providing alternative gas supplies to Europe
The new Memorandum of Understanding in the Field of Energy signed today by both Presidents includes a promise to double the capacity of Southern Gas Corridor and deliver at least 20 million cubic metres annually to the EU by 2027. This will help Europe end its dependence on Russian gas and contribute to diversification goals in the REPowerEU Plan. Azerbaijan has been increasing its natural gas deliveries to the EU based on increased energy cooperation. It is now expected to increase their delivery from 8.1 billion cubic meters in 2021 to 12 bcm by 2022.
Kadri SIMSON, Energy Commissioner, stated that the new Memorandum of Understanding demonstrates the strategic role of Southern Gas Corridor for diversification efforts. Azerbaijan has increased its natural gas supplies to the EU, and this trend will continue. Azerbaijan is expected to deliver up to 4 billion cubic metres of gas more this year, and the volumes are expected to nearly double by 2027. Our cooperation extends beyond that. We are accelerating renewables deployment and addressing methane emission; these steps will increase supply security and help us achieve our climate goals.
The MoU states that the EU and Azerbaijan have the same ambition to accelerate the deployment and development of renewable energy generation and transmission capacities to fully benefit from the synergies between Azerbaijan’s untapped renewable energy potential and the EU’s clean-energy transition.
Both parties acknowledge the importance and responsibility of the Global Methane Pledge and recognize that ensuring a natural gas supply chain that is as efficient, sustainable, and climate-friendly as possible is their collective responsibility. The MoU encourages the creation of plans to collect natural gas that could otherwise be vented, flared, or released into the atmosphere. We will also cooperate to support Azerbaijan’s accession to The Pledge.
After the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by Minister Shahbazov, Commissioner Simson will host an EU-Azeri Energy Dialogue with Minister Shahbazov in order to discuss practical implementation of this Memorandum of Understanding.
Since several months, the EU has been working closely with international partners to diversify supply and reduce rising energy prices. The EU External Energy Engagement Strategy was published alongside the REPowerEU plan. It recognized the importance of the Southern Gas Corridor in diversifying natural gas supply to the EU, especially for South Eastern European countries.
The Commission has supported for many years the expansion of Southern Gas Corridor, which is a significant contribution to reliable, predictable and secure natural gas supplies in South Eastern Europe, and possibly also in the Western Balkans via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline.
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