European Countries Ask Azerbaijan for Gas, President Aliyev Says
Pump jacks pump oil at an oil field on the shores of the Caspian Sea in Baku, Azerbaijan, October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor
BAKU (Reuters) - A number of European countries have approached Azerbaijan seeking to buy gas, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev told a forum on Thursday, adding that his country needed to increase production first to secure additional supplies.
Azerbaijan currently sells gas to Turkey, Georgia, Greece, Bulgaria and Italy via pipelines which bypass Russia.
The European Union has traditionally relied on Russia for 40% of its gas needs but is looking for alternatives following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Russia has already cut gas flows to a number of EU countries after they rejected a demand to pay in roubles.
"In recent months, several European countries have approached us with a request to purchase gas. But it is not easy because we have to produce it first", Aliyev said. He did not name any countries.
Aliyev said that demand for energy resources from Azerbaijan was growing in Europe and his country was doing everything to meet the increasing demand.
"We are currently cooperating with the European Commission on that issue," he said.
Azerbaijan plans to double capacity of its Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline, which currently supplies 16.2 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year to Turkey and southern Europe, in four to five years.
The country planned to increase gas exports in 2022 to 24 bcm from 22 bcm last year and to send 10 bcm to Europe. Azerbaijani officials have made plans to increase gas production to 50 bcm per year by 2026.
Russia has reduced gas supplies to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline this week, due to delays to maintenance, and Moscow has said more delays in repairs could lead to a suspension all flows.