Azerbaijan's long-sighted & targeted energy policy as savior of Europe from impending gas crisis
Today, energy security has become one of the most important issues on the global agenda, where the role of Azerbaijan, with its rich oil and gas resources, diversified transportation routes, and its reputation as a reliable partner, becomes invaluable.
Together with its foreign partners, Azerbaijan has been spearheading large-scale projects to build appropriate infrastructure capacities to provide Europe with alternative energy.
Given the significant changes in the global energy markets, which particularly include the Russian-Ukrainian war, there is a growing need for Europe to seek new ways to stabilize and ensure energy security, which makes Baku a central player in this situation.
On September 20, 1994, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan marked the beginning of an era of significant changes in the world economy. By signing the Contract of the Century with 11 leading international oil companies on joint development and PSA distribution of Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli fields and later on 26 agreements with 41 oil companies representing 19 countries of the world, Azerbaijan has become a central hub of energy in the geo-economic map of Eurasia and laid the basis for further development of partnership with the world community.
The continuation of this strategy was the signing in Baku in July 2022 of a Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Energy Partnership between Azerbaijan and the EU, with the participation of Ursula von der Leyen, envisaging the doubling of the capacity of the Southern Gas Company, bringing annual supplies of Azerbaijani gas to more than 20 bcm by 2027.
Speaking at the 9th Ministerial Meeting within the framework of the South Gas Corridor Advisory Council held at Gulustan Palace in Baku on February 3, 2023, President Ilham Aliyev said that much has changed in the world since last year's 8th South Gas Corridor Advisory Council.
"The world has changed. Energy security issues have become increasingly important for every country. And as we used to say in our meetings, energy security is really an issue of national security," said President Ilham Aliyev.
Most notable was his statement that Azerbaijan has all the resources required for its plans to double gas exports to Europe by 2027. Clear political will and a very high level of mutual trust will facilitate this.
According to President Ilham Aliyev, natural gas produced in Azerbaijan can play a role in the energy security of both Azerbaijan and Europe for hundreds of years. Azerbaijan has 2.6 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves and a 3,500 km corridor that will bring this reserve to Europe.
As mentioned earlier, the Russian-Ukrainian war has significantly increased the number of countries that have asked Azerbaijan for natural gas. In 2022, over 10 appeals were made for Azerbaijani natural gas.
The extension of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to Italy clearly demonstrates the need of Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, and Romania for Azerbaijani energy resources.
Azerbaijan has clearly set the goal of becoming one of the main suppliers of natural gas to Europe, as well as green energy and hydrogen in the future.
Hydrogen energy has a huge advantage over other forms of energy. This advantage is that other alternative energy resources are dependent on natural phenomena. But hydrogen energy does not depend directly on natural phenomena. Currently, it takes time to do some work on the transfer of hydrogen energy.
Can we say that today Azerbaijan is "saving" Europe from the energy crisis? The answer is perhaps yes. President Aliyev stressed that the proven potential of RES in Azerbaijan is 184,000 MW, of which 157,000 MW is in the potential of the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. It even accords with the statement in which the president mentioned Azerbaijan to be an indispensable partner in the energy sector.
This may solely be the best chance for Azerbaijan to take the lead in the sphere of energy and business for decades to come.
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