By Leman Mammadova
A meeting of Energy Ministers of Eastern Partnership countries was held in Bucharest, Romania, on April 2.
As the Eastern Partnership program celebrates its 10th anniversary, the meeting featured discussions on future cooperation prospects in the field of energy, the Eastern Partnership Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) network, energy infrastructure - natural gas and electricity projects, energy efficiency as well as focus on the improvements of goals and priorities in the energy sector.
Azerbaijan`s Deputy Energy Minister Elnur Soltanov attended the first meeting of Eastern Partnership countries' energy ministers under the Romanian presidency of the EU Council.
Speaking at the event, Soltanov noted that a new stage has begun in the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project, which envisages transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe.
Soltanov noted that the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project, which is the final leg of the Southern Gas Corridor, is more than 85 percent complete, and gas transportation within the second stage of development of the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz gas condensate field will begin in 2020.
The deputy minister emphasized that with the launch of the Shah Deniz 2 project, the volume of natural gas exports to Turkey began to grow starting from the summer of 2018 and this process will continue.
“The growing volumes of gas that will be exported to Turkey and in the future to Europe provide an opportunity for a proportional increase in the volumes of gas received by Georgia through the South Caucasus gas pipeline as a commission, and thereby increase Azerbaijan’s contribution to Georgia’s energy security,” Soltanov said.
The deputy minister also noted the importance of continuing cooperation between the EU and the Eastern Partnership in diversifying sources and routes of energy supply.
He further spoke about the cooperation between Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia in the field of electric power. He brought to the attention of the meeting participants that the cooperation in this field in the South Caucasus region doesn’t go beyond the cooperation between Azerbaijan and Georgia due to the occupation of Azerbaijani lands.
The European Commission highly appreciated the success of Azerbaijan in the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project and noted the importance of cooperation between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries for accelerating and diversifying steps in this direction, the ministry said.
The Eastern Partnership program was launched by the EU in 2009. Its main goal is the development of regional cooperation with six countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
The Southern Gas Corridor, $ 40 billion worth project, envisages the transportation of 10 billion cubic meters of gas to Turkey and Europe through the pipeline, which will be operated within the second stage of the Shah Deniz gas condensate field project in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.
Gas produced within Shah Deniz Stage 2 will be transported from the Caspian Sea to Europe, through Italy, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and the seabed of the Adriatic Sea.
The Southern Gas Corridor consists of four projects: Shah Deniz 2, Expansion of South Caucasus Pipeline (Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum), the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).
Perhaps this is one of the most ambitious projects in the world of oil and gas industry, as well as a complex target that involves a large number of different stakeholders - including seven governments and 11 companies.
On May 29, Baku hosted the launch of the first phase of the Southern Gas Corridor project, and on June 12, the opening ceremony of the TANAP took place in the Turkish province of Eskisehir.
Thus, the first gas from the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field has already gone through the first segment of the Southern Gas Corridor - from the Sangachal terminal to the expanded South Caucasus Pipeline.
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