By Ayya Lmahamad
The volume of Azerbaijan’s gas exports increased by 16.9 percent to 13.8 billion cubic meters in 2020, Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov said during the government session to sum up the results of 2020.
Shahbazov linked the increase in gas exports to the Southern Gas Corridor project. It should be noted that Azerbaijan started transportation of commercial gas transportation to Europe via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline for the first December 31 as part of the Southern Gas Corridor project.
The minister noted that currently 10.5 million cubic meters of gas are exported daily to Italy, 2 million cubic meters to Greece and 1 million cubic meters to Bulgaria.
In the meantime, it was noted that the country’s oil production decreased by 8.2 percent during the last year under OPEC+ agreement on the reduction of oil production.
Moreover, he stated that during the reported period, electricity exports totalled 1.1 billion kWh, underlining that work continues on creating and restoring electric power generating capacity.
“A total of 1,300 MW of capacity was restored under the relevant programs, and construction of the 385 MW power plant and the Goby substation continues. A new SCADA system is being built. Appropriate work is underway with foreign investment to build a new thermal power plant with a production capacity of up to 550 MW,” the minister stated.
Shahbazov emphasized that a draft strategy for the long-term development of the energy sector is being prepared in order to meet the goal of bringing the share of renewable energy in the installed capacity of electricity to 30 percent. As part of this framework, an agreement was signed with Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power to build a wind farm with a capacity of 240 MW. It was noted that this project, based on foreign investment, will save 200 million cubic meters of gas per year.
“Another project- the project “Guneshli” should be completed by March 1 this year, together with the United Arab Emirates’ Masdar company and the work in this direction is underway,” he added.
Touching upon the creation of energy infrastructure on Azerbaijan’s liberated lands, the minister noted that initially the damage to the energy infrastructure is being assessed. Thus, the Azerishig OJSC has already restored the damaged energy facilities in the adjacent areas, and electricity is provided to vital facilities in Fuzuli region, Jabrayil city and Hadrut settlement, as well as to border outposts in Jabrayil region.
“According to the action plan of Azerenergy, the Shukurbeyli substation in Fuzuli region will be reconstructed by May. For this purpose, an additional high-voltage line is being laid and the capacity of the substation is being increased,” Shahbazov said.
Likewise, the minister emphasized that currently a 75 km double-circuit 110 kV transmission line is being laid to the Shusha city. During the next stage, as a result of laying a total of 308 km power lines in Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Zangilan, Gubadli, Lachin, Shusha, Aghdam and Kalbajar regions and the construction of new substations a 110 kV network will be created.
“In the program designed to provide these areas with natural gas, SOCAR also proposes laying a 416 km long main gas pipeline of various diameters,” he added.
Additionally, Shahbazov noted that the development of the concept of a green zone, which will cover the use of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, environmentally friendly technologies, etc, has begun in the Karabakh region, and the discussions are underway with the International Renewable Energy Agency in this regard.
“According to preliminary estimates, these territories have the potential for more than 4,000 MW of solar and up to 500 MW of wind energy. In addition, an inventory of small hydropower plants has begun. According to preliminary data, the number of such stations is about 30, but most of them have fallen into disrepair,” Shahbazov underlined.
He noted that restoration work has already begun at three of the stations, and work is underway to attract foreign investors to green energy projects.
“The completion of the Khudaferin and Maiden Tower hydroelectric power plants in the Jabrayil region will contribute to the energy supply of these territories,” he added.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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