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Azerbaijan able to supply more natural gas to Europe: Top authority

Azerbaijan has sufficient natural gas reserves and can supply more natural gas to Europe, the country’s deputy energy minister told Anadolu Agency.

“But two people dance a tango. In natural gas, unlike petroleum, the processing of the fields cannot be started without a buyer,” said Elnur Soltanov. “In case of a large volume gas supply increase, buyers should be determined and agreements should be signed.”

On the energy crisis in the world and Europe’s greater natural gas demand from Azerbaijan, Soltanov said it is very difficult to balance demand and supply without a strategic approach to oil and natural gas.

He went on to say that it takes six to seven years to start the operation of a natural gas field and significant investments are required for the maintenance of existing deposits.

Soltanov underlined that steps to be taken require strategic calculations and the coronavirus pandemic astonished calculations and created uncertainty.

Noting that serious steps have been taken in the direction of green energy in the world and “even though natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel,” Soltanov said there are hesitations in the use of such fuels due to global warming.

The hesitations create difficulties for banks to provide loans, provide certain concessions to strategic projects and process fossil deposits, thus, work becomes more expensive, he added.

Energy crisis in the world

Emphasizing that cold weather in Europe is below seasonal normals and the tensions between Russia and Ukraine are among the reasons for the world’s energy crisis, Soltanov said the situation was felt more in Europe and that there was a serious increase in natural gas prices.

He said officials who attended the 8th Advisory Board Meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor in Baku on Feb. 4 brought the crisis to the agenda and Azerbaijan’s contributions to overcoming the crisis came to the fore.

Regarding the main natural gas reserves of Azerbaijan, Soltanov highlighted that the Absheron deposit has “enough reserves,” while the Shafak Asiman, Umit and Babek basins are “large enough,” adding that the third phase of the Shah Deniz deposit can be further developed.

“There is a discussion on the transfer of Azerbaijani oil to the western Balkans via TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline). European authorities also brought this up. Azerbaijan can do this, but these things should be mutual and based on signed agreements,” he said.

TAP is an essential part of the Southern Gas Corridor, offering a direct and cost-effective transportation route to southeast European countries and beyond.

It transports natural gas from the Caspian basin to Europe, connecting the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Greek-Turkish border, crossing Northern Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea before coming ashore in southern Italy to connect to the Italian natural gas network.

“Azerbaijan’s potential is high enough. Within the framework of serious dialogue and responsibility sharing, we can meet the energy needs of our European partners at a higher level by developing existing pipelines,” Soltanov said.

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