The President of the European Commission, the German Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of Azerbaijan, Ilhan Aliev, signed this Monday (07.18.2022) a memorandum of understanding to double the supply of Azerbaijani gas to the community bloc within five years. The goal is to reach at least 20,000 million cubic meters of gas in 2027.
“We will double Azerbaijan’s gas supply to the EU. With this memorandum of understanding we are committed to expanding the Southern Gas Corridor,” Von der Leyen said in a press appearance after signing the document at the Zagulba presidential residence, some 25 kilometers northwest of Baku, on the picturesque coast of the Caspian Sea.
Currently, the EU receives 8,000 million cubic meters of gas through this route. “Starting next year we should already reach 12,000 million cubic meters. This will help to compensate for the cuts in Russian gas supplies and contribute significantly to the security of supply in Europe,” stressed the president of the Community Executive.
This memorandum of understanding involves the expansion of the Southern Gas Corridor, which has been connecting Azerbaijan with the Western Balkans since 2011 and includes the trans-Adriatic gas pipeline. “The corridor is a 3,500-kilometer-long integrated gas pipeline system that brings gas to the mainland. This corridor has been operating at full capacity for less than two years,” Aliev said.
This agreement is part of the plan of the Community Executive, Repower EU, which seeks to break Russia’s dependence on fossil fuels in 2030. “We will invest 60 million euros of European funds in Azerbaijan until 2024,” explained Von der Leyen, which -he hopes- will mobilize an additional 2,000 million euros in investment.
Von der Leyen stressed that before Russia’s “brutal invasion of Ukraine, the supply of Russian gas to Europe was no longer reliable.” Therefore, he argued, Brussels
decided to diversify supplies “away from Russia and toward more reliable partners.” And he added that Azerbaijan “will be a key partner for our security of supply and on the path to climate neutrality.”