On December 10, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev made a working visit to Serbia. The head of state took part in the opening ceremony of the Serbia-Bulgaria gas interconnector in the city of Nis, and also held meetings with the presidents of Bulgaria and Serbia Rumen Radev and Aleksandar Vucic.
At the meetings, the importance of opening the interconnector was emphasized, the importance of the Ring of Solidarity initiative was touched upon, as well as the significance of this project in terms of expanding energy cooperation between Azerbaijan and the European Union. Our country’s contribution to Europe’s gas supply was noted.
After 2026, Azerbaijan will be able to supply 20 bcm of gas to Europe
According to MP Vugar Bayramov, Azerbaijan’s role in strengthening the energy security of Europe is increasing: “With the launch of the Serbia-Bulgaria interconnector, Serbia’s opportunities for importing Azerbaijani gas have expanded. Further development of cooperation between Serbia and Azerbaijan in the field of gas transportation is expected. Serbia is one of the countries that will be able to receive gas from the Serbia-Bulgaria interconnector, which has become a new element of the Southern Gas Corridor, implemented as a result of the political will of the President of Azerbaijan. Increasing the capacity of the Serbia-Bulgaria interconnector from 3.5 billion to 5.5 billion cubic meters may allow countries such as Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and North Macedonia to buy Azerbaijani gas. Thus, the role of our country in strengthening the energy security of Central and Eastern Europe is increasing. This further strengthens Azerbaijan's strategic position. This year, Azerbaijan will increase natural gas exports to Europe to 12 billion cubic meters. After 2026, Azerbaijan will be able to supply 20 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe,” he said.
V. Bayramov especially noted that our trade turnover with Serbia over the past 4 years has almost doubled, to $9.2 million:
“Not only in the energy sector, but also in the non-oil sector there is great potential for the development of economic relations between Azerbaijan and Serbia. From this point of view, the meetings discussions, and agreements reached during the visit will allow us to better use this potential. In general, the latest visit of the President of Azerbaijan will make a significant contribution to strengthening the energy security of the region.”
“Azerbaijan entered this global market in a timely manner”
The head of the Center for Petroleum Research, Ilham Shaban, told APA-Economics that Azerbaijan entered this global market in a timely manner: “The energy chain that has developed in Europe for decades began to suddenly break in 2022. Azerbaijan has become one of the leading players in improving the stability of energy security in Europe. Being a stable player, Azerbaijan is restoring this broken chain. This takes some time.
Azerbaijan entered this global market in a timely manner. European gas consumers view our country as a serious player and are pursuing a policy of further expanding relations for the future. This opens up opportunities for the development of trade, political and cultural ties of our country. We do not use our energy as a means of putting pressure on any forces. By doing so, we show that we are pursuing a policy of mutual benefit and expansion of relations.”
Noting that Azerbaijan has become a gas exporting country since 2007, the expert added that for many years we had mainly two gas buyers: “They were Georgia and Turkey. Since December 31, 2020, Azerbaijani gas has been supplied to other consumers in Europe. As you can see, Azerbaijan is expanding its gas geography every year. First, Greece, Italy, and then Bulgaria, and Romania began to buy gas from Azerbaijan. It is likely that by the end of this year, Hungary, and from 2024, Serbia will become buyers of Azerbaijani gas. There is a commercial agreement to supply 400 million cubic meters of gas to consumers in Serbia in 2024. Slovak and German consumers are next in line.
By 2027, European consumers will be able to buy twice as much gas from Azerbaijan. This makes the launch of new gas fields in Azerbaijan urgent. This also allows our country to earn money by bringing its energy resources to world markets.”
Azerbaijan's role in European energy security is growing
Economist-expert Elshad Mamedov told APA-Economics that the latest visit of the head of state to Serbia increases the role of our country in Europe in the energy sector: “With the commissioning of the interconnector, our country is contributing to the stabilization of Serbia’s energy balance. Thus, Azerbaijan’s role in the energy security of Europe as a supplier and exporter of gas is increasing.”
Recall that last month strategic documents in the field of natural gas were signed between Azerbaijan and Serbia. On November 15, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Ministry of Mining and Energy of the Republic of Serbia on the development of cooperation between SOCAR and Srbijagas, as well as an Agreement on the sale of gas between SOCAR and Srbijagas.
Note that in addition to gas supplies, the Memorandum of Understanding provides for the possibility of supplying LNG to Serbia, exploring opportunities to participate in gas trading operations of SOCAR, as well as in the construction of a gas power plant.
As a result of annual supplies to Serbia of up to 400 million cubic meters of gas, the number of countries supplied with Azerbaijani gas will reach 8.