Azerbaijan asks Europe for gas export guarantee

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Elnur Mammadov: “We must make sure that this is not a spontaneous demand due to the war in Ukraine”

Against the background of the energy crisis in Europe, Azerbaijan asked for a guarantee in return for turning to Azerbaijan as an alternative source.

The “Financial Times” newspaper writes that in order to double Azerbaijan’s gas exports to the European Union, the bloc will depend on new investments in its pipeline network and European companies concluding long-term contracts.

Speaking about this, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Elnur Mammadov said that when using Azerbaijan as an alternative source, they should make sure that this is not a spontaneous demand due to the war in Ukraine.

In July, Brussels and Baku signed an agreement to increase the volume of gas exported from Azerbaijan to the European Union to 20 billion cubic meters per year by 2027.

In general, European Union countries are currently trying to minimize dependence on Russian gas. The reason is Russia’s intervention in Ukrainian territories since February. European Union countries do not support the war and call it an occupation. For this reason, since February, European Union countries alongside the United States have imposed sanctions of various sizes on Russia.

In return, Russia suppresses the energy dependence of European countries.

The article on the conditions under which Azerbaijan will sell gas to the countries of the European Union also mentions that the expansion of the 3,500-kilometer Southern Gas Corridor requires billions of dollars of investment and new contracts with European companies.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Elnur Mammadov says that these agreements should also cover the period after 2027:

“Those interested in investment, whether private or public, should put their money on the table so that we can increase the volume of exports. I would not like to say that there is a disagreement with the EU on this issue, but this is an important part of the issue.”

The deputy minister also said that currently the European Union needs alternative suppliers, but guarantees should also be given to Baku:

“We have to make sure that… this is not a spontaneous demand because of the Ukrainian war. This war will end one day and then you will go back to buying gas from Russia and say, “well, we don’t need your gas anymore.”

Mammadov stressed that Azerbaijan can contribute its share to the mentioned investments.

The construction of the Southern Gas Corridor cost 40 billion dollars.

According to Loren Ruzekas from S&P Global Commodity Insights, Azerbaijan can slightly increase its gas exports to Italy and Bulgaria, but substantial investments will be needed to substantially increase this volume:

“No country wants to risk billions of dollars without knowing its long-term buyer.”

The European Commission did not comment on the request for any negotiations in this direction.

One of the EU officials told FT that there is a long-standing energy cooperation between the bloc and Azerbaijan, and the EU considers Azerbaijan a reliable supplier.

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