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Sefcovic: Azerbaijan, Caspian region important partners of Europe in energy sector [UPDATE]

20 September 2018 10:27 (UTC+04:00)
Sefcovic: Azerbaijan, Caspian region important partners of Europe in energy sector [UPDATE]

By Kamila Aliyeva

The 7th International Caspian Energy Forum Baku-2018 kicked off in the Azerbaijani capital on September 20.

European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic said in his video appeal to the participants of the forum that Azerbaijan and the entire Caspian region are important partners of Europe in the energy sector.

Azerbaijan is the main participant of the Southern Gas Corridor project, which will allow Europe to diversify energy sources and improve the regional geopolitical balance, Sefcovic said.

The first volumes of Azerbaijan’s gas will reach Europe in 2020, he noted.

This will be a historic event, which can be called the culmination of political and economic efforts of both states and private sectors of the participating countries, he added.

Sefcovic went on to say that the gas will not only allow European countries to achieve their energy goals, but will also benefit the non-EU countries.

In addition, the success of SGC can be used in cooperation in other areas, such as alternative energy, environmental issues and so on, he noted.

Speaking at the event, Azerbaijani Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov said that the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) project will be able to meet about 40-50 percent of the needs of the Balkan countries in natural gas.

“Speaking about the strategic significance of the project, one must take into account that it is aimed at Eastern Europe, a sensitive region from the point of view of energy security. It will be able to supply up to 30-35 percent of the gas needs in Bulgaria and Greece, and, initially, about 10 percent of Italy's total needs, and in the second stage it will turn into a gas hub for this country. With the help of interconnectors, the project will be able to provide about 40-50 percent of the needs of the Balkan countries,” he said.

Shahbazov stressed that in the future the volume of gas deliveries through the Southern Gas Corridor can increase.

“The capacity of the project is not limited to a single volume. In the future, gas can be exported not only from Shah Deniz-2, but also from other fields,” the minister said.

The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority energy projects for the European Union, which aims to diversify routes and sources of energy supplies and thereby improve the energy security of the EU.

The SGC is intended to deliver 10 billion cubic meters gas from the Azerbaijani gas condensate field Shah Deniz through Georgia and Turkey to Europe.

Baku hosted the launch ceremony of the first phase of the Southern Gas Corridor project on May 29, and on June 12, the opening ceremony of TANAP pipeline was held in the Turkish province of Eskisehir with the participation of the presidents of Azerbaijan - Ilham Aliyev, Turkey - Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ukraine - Petro Poroshenko and Serbia - Alexander Vucic.

Thus, the first gas from the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field coming out of the Sangachal terminal expanded for Shah Deniz-2 project and passing through the expanded South Caucasus Gas Pipeline, has already gone through the first segment of the Southern Gas Corridor. The next stage was the commissioning of the TANAP gas pipeline, through which the gas will enter the territory of Turkey and will pass on further to Europe.

The TANAP pipeline has been laid from the Georgian-Turkish border to the Western border of Turkey. The TANAP pipeline together with another – Trans-Adriatic - gas pipeline is part of the "Southern Gas Corridor" project, which provides for the transportation of gas from the Azerbaijani "Shah Deniz" field to Europe.

Shahbazov went on to say that Azerbaijan must use the experience gained in cooperation with foreign oil and gas companies to develop alternative energy.

A legislative base is being created to use renewable energy sources, the minister said.

Reforms continue to attract private sector and foreign investments to the sphere, as well as create competitive environment there, he added.

Shahbazov pointed out that there are great prospects for the development of alternative energy sources in the Caspian countries.

Addressing the event, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Mukhtar Babayev said that the country intends to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

He noted that this can be achieved by virtue of new technologies that make it possible to improve the process and make the production more environment-friendly.

Azerbaijan generates power through hydroelectric, wind and solar power plants, as well as biogas installations. At the moment, the capacity of Azerbaijan’s electricity system exceeds 12,000 megawatt. The total potential of renewable energy sources exceeds 25,300 megawatt.

A major part of the country’s capacity in this area accounts for solar energy, while its potential is estimated at 5,000 megawatts. Some 4,500 megawatts accounts for wind power, 1,500 megawatts -- for biomass, 800 megawatts -- for geothermal energy, and the remaining 350 megawatts -- for the small hydro power plants (HPP).

The State Agency on Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources of Azerbaijan has determined areas, capacities, amounts to be invested in producing 4,200 megawatts in 2018-2020 and other required information.

In the coming years, the agency plans to implement 23 projects worth about 13 million manats as part of the Strategic Roadmap for the Development of Public Utilities (Electric and Thermal Energy, Water and Gas).

The projects include construction of wind, hydro and biofuel power plants with a total capacity of 4,200 megawatts. This is while 3,500 megawatts will account for wind power plants, 500 megawatts for solar power plants, and 200 megawatts will account for biofuel power plants. The cost of building wind power plants will be 10.2 million manats, solar - 1.48 million manats, and biofuel - 1.16 million manats.

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