Monday July 15 2024

Italy emerges as leading European buyer of Azerbaijani gas, strengthening energy partnership [COMMENTARY]

8 July 2024 15:59 (UTC+04:00)
Italy emerges as leading European buyer of Azerbaijani gas, strengthening energy partnership [COMMENTARY]
Ulviyya Shahin
Ulviyya Shahin
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Italy has emerged as the leading European buyer of Azerbaijani gas, marking a notable development evident in quarterly reports since the beginning of 2024.

During a meeting in Milan between Minister Parviz Shahbazov and Italian Minister of Environment and Energy Security Gilberto Picetto Fratini, it was announced that Azerbaijan plans to supply Italy with 9.6 billion cubic meters of gas this year.

The discussions encompassed broad cooperation in the energy sector, including topics addressed at the 29th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP29) and Italy's leadership in the G7. Both parties expressed satisfaction with the robust and strategic partnership between Azerbaijan and Italy, emphasizing the growth of cooperative relations.

The meeting underscored President Ilham Aliyev's commitment to advancing Azerbaijan's ties with Italy, highlighting Italy's status as Azerbaijan's primary trading partner. Italy has received over 30 billion cubic meters of gas out of the total 37.9 billion cubic meters supplied to Europe, positioning Azerbaijan among Italy's top three gas suppliers and marking significant achievements in bilateral relations.

Further discussions included plans to expand the capacity of the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline (TAP) by 1.2 billion cubic meters starting in 2026, aimed at enhancing collaboration in energy security and efforts towards decarbonization. The meeting also addressed cooperation with Ansaldo Energia on equipping a 1,280 MW power plant and substations in liberated areas, alongside exploring opportunities for renewable energy supply.

Italy expressed keen interest in accessing 'green energy' from Azerbaijan via the Caspian-Black Sea-European Green Energy Corridor, signaling mutual aspirations for sustainable energy solutions.

Speaking to Azernews British expert Neil Watson noted that Italy has always been a very significant energy partner for Azerbaijan.

"Currently, Italy imports 23 percent of its energy, and Baku is the second greatest supplier of gas after Algeria. This is predominantly because the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) section of the Southern Gas Corridor delivers to an Italian interconnector. Baku Caspian Gas and Crude Oil are a reliable and diversified energy source for Italy and across Europe. Gas is also recognized as a transitional energy source before carbon-neutral sources take over. Italy recently announced plans to increase TAP capacity by 1.2bcm per annum to reach 11.2bcm by 2026, eventually reaching 20bcm," the expert added.

According to him, Italy has already achieved an 18 percent increase in its level of domestically produced renewable energy.

"Nonetheless, its potential requirement for energy from renewable sources remains considerable, and it will certainly be a prime customer for so-called green energy through the proposed Black Sea-European Green Corridor if it is to achieve its COP29 commitments, much of which will be generated via the join projects in renewable energy to be implemented in the liberated territories."

N. Watson concluded that Italian-Azerbaijani energy relations are already very strong, and only just lag behind that with the UK.

"I believe that Italy will strongly propound the current and future role of Azerbaijan in the European energy mix, both in hydrocarbons and renewables. Italian politicians and policymakers have already witnessed the proactive and pragmatic approaches of Official Baku. The Italian G7 Presidency and Azerbaijani COP29 hosting will complement each other, demonstrating the strength of this partnership at a time when Europe needs diversified and reliable energy sources."


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