The European Commission signed a memorandum of understanding with Azerbaijan to double imports of Azerbaijani natural gas to at least 20 billion cubic meters a year by 2027, Al Jazeera reported on Monday.
“Today, with this new memorandum of understanding, we are opening a new chapter in our energy cooperation with Azerbaijan, a key partner in our efforts to move away from Russian fossil fuels,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday.
She said the European Union is seeking to double gas imports from Azerbaijan as it seeks non-Russian suppliers after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Azerbaijan is a crucial energy partner for us that has always been reliable,” von der Leyen said at a joint news conference with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev following the signing ceremony in Baku, the Azeri capital.
Through the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, Azerbaijan is “delivering currently more than 8 billion cubic meters of gas per year and we will expand its capacity to 20 billion cubic meters” by 2027, she said.
The Azeri gas imports will already increase to 12bcm next year, which “will help compensate for cuts in supplies of Russian gas and contribute significantly to Europe’s security of supply,” she added.
Aliyev stressed that “issues of energy security today are more important than ever before”.
He added: “Long-lasting, predictable and very reliable cooperation between EU and Azerbaijan in the field of energy is a big asset.”
The Southern Gas Corridor transporting Azeri gas to the EU has been operational since 2020.
Ahead of the visit, the European Commission said: “Amid Russia’s continued weaponization of its energy supplies, diversification of our energy imports is a priority for the EU.”
In May, EU leaders agreed to stop most Russian oil imports by the end of the year, as part of unprecedented sanctions they slapped on Moscow over the military action in Ukraine.