ECONOMY


8th Ministerial Meeting of Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council features plenary sessions on expansion of project and energy transition

Baku, February 4, AZERTAC

The 8th Ministerial Meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council, held on 4 February in Baku, included plenary sessions on “the Southern Gas Corridor: Achievements and Prospects – Extension of the SGC towards New Energy Markets, including the Western Balkans” and “Energy Transition - from Fossil Fuels and Methane Reduction Measures to a Carbon Neutrality: Paths, Challenges and Schedules”.

Minister of Energy of Azerbaijan Parviz Shahbazov said that the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council has successfully fulfilled its mission to supply natural gas to Europe through a huge corridor from a new source. The Minister also noted that the Southern Gas Corridor is a unique element of a sustainable energy supply. While the world's energy crisis is raging, the role of European consumers in energy supply has confirmed that the Southern Gas Corridor serves energy safety. "In 2021, as well as in January of this year, more than 18.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas was exported through the Southern Gas Corridor to consumers in Georgia, Turkey and Europe. During this time, only European countries have been provided with approximately 8.9 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani natural gas under long-term contracts, as well as short-term spot operations,” the minister added. The Minister of Energy said that the corridor could expand its strategic importance in ensuring energy safety with the help of interconnectors between European countries to the Western Balkans and other parts of the continent: “To this end, it becomes relevant to start a new stage of activity, which includes such processes as signing contracts with consumers, attracting investments and increasing gas production, as well as building interconnectors. We are ready to cooperate with the European Commission and countries wishing to purchase additional volumes of gas or import and export gas, as well as contribute to the development of the Southern Gas Corridor.”

EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi said: "Ensuring energy safety will remain a priority during the energy transition. Therefore, strategic partnership with Azerbaijan is important. I thank Azerbaijan not only for being an important reliable partner, but also for its active role in energy safety.”

Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Donmez said: “The realization of the Southern Gas Corridor and the transportation of commercial gas to Europe are important steps. In order to increase the volume of gas to be transported through the corridor, we need additional resources and additional resource countries. From this point of view, we are ready to further develop our cooperation with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan for the welfare of our region.”

Senior Advisor for Global Energy Security of the U.S. Department of State Amos Hochstein said that the United States has appreciated Azerbaijan’s significant contributions to European energy diversification through the Southern Gas Corridor. “We are very glad that the Southern Gas Corridor has been implemented on time. Today, the importance of this corridor is better understood. This is an important project not only for reliable gas supply in Europe, but also for the development of the gas market. We are pleased to support this project.”

Minister of State for Europe at the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Chris Heaton-Harris MP said that this corridor is stable and reliable supplies for Georgia, Turkey and partners across Europe. Companies and countries, like Azerbaijan, who have been hydrocarbon superpowers, are amongst the best placed to be in the energy superpowers of the net zero age.

Undersecretary of Ministry of Ecological Transition of Italy Vannia Gava noted that natural gas is an irreplaceable resource for the energy transition. "The price fluctuations that in recent months have seriously challenged the economies of many EU countries, starting with Italy, have highlighted the strategic importance of infrastructures such as the Southern Gas Corridor. Thanks to the coordination between the countries involved in the corridor, we are balancing the needs of all parties and guaranteeing Europe's energy security, which is absolutely an essential objective."

Georgian Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Romeo Mikautadze said: “We look forward to the maximum possible development of the potential of the Southern Gas Corridor. From this point of view, the delivery of Caspian and Central Asian energy resources to European markets is of great importance.”

Deputy Chairman of the Turkmengas State Concern Atamyrat Chariyev noted that Turkmenistan has the technical capability and resource base to ensure the supply of natural gas also in the western direction, in the quantities necessary to meet the needs of the Eastern European market. “We are convinced that one of the important infrastructure projects that can make an invaluable contribution to the energy security of European countries is the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline.”

Minister of Energy of the Republic of Bulgaria Alexander Nikolov said: "Stable and diversified supplies from the strategic partner country of Bulgaria - Azerbaijan are imperative for mitigating the negative effects of the high volatility of energy prices on the economy and society. In this context, Bulgaria has an interest in possible additional supplies from Azerbaijan. It is important to highlight that the supplies of natural gas from Azerbaijan through the Southern Gas Corridor have been regularly delivered to Bulgaria for more than a year."

Secretary General for Energy and Mineral Resources of the Ministry of Environment and Energy of the Hellenic Republic Alexandra Sdoukou said that Greece is proud of its efforts all these years, to develop the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline. "That in turn facilitates the development of associated infrastructure in Southeastern Europe. We support efforts and plans to use renewable gases and hydrogen in the existing gas pipeline systems, as well as, to create new dedicated infrastructures; and look forward to continuing cooperation with all our partners here today.”

Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Energy of Albania Ilir Bejtja noted that Albania is facing very difficult challenges related to the security of energy supply and to the economic terms of meeting the domestic market demand. "Considering gas to be a cleaner source of energy compared to the other fossil sources, the development of the gas sector sits high on our agenda. The SGC is a very important alternative for Albania and the near and long term future of the energy landscape. We shall strongly support these developments and remain committed to the implementation of our common plans and projects."

Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, Minister of Mining and Energy Zorana Mihajlovic said: "The Serbia-Bulgaria Gas Interconnector, which we started constructing on February 1 and which will become operational in 2023, will enable us to connect with other gas pipelines and other suppliers - from the Caspian region, from the Southern Gas Corridor gas pipeline and some other sources. Thus, it contributes to a higher level of energy security not only of the Republic of Serbia, but also of the entire region."

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Péter Szijjártó stated: "We should appreciated natural gas as the best solution to ensure the safety of supplies in order to achieve our green targets in the transition period. Looking at the possible diversification of energy sources in Central Europe, we can say that the most relevant and real source for this is Azerbaijani gas.”

Romanian Minister of Energy Virgil-Daniel Popescu brought to the attention that Romania reiterates the solid proposal to include the transport infrastructure offered by the Romania-Bulgaria Interconnector and the BRUA gas pipeline in the plan to expand the Southern Gas Corridor towards the Balkans and Central Europe. "The growing interest of many states in the region to access the Azerbaijani gas volumes represents a huge opportunity for further development of the Southern Gas Corridor – which should not be missed. We stand ready to join the efforts to develop the Southern Gas Corridor project, a strategic gas transport infrastructure so necessary for the stability of Europe’s energy security."

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development of the Republic of Moldova Andrei Spinu said that “no country should be let alone in the face of the energy crisis we all together are facing now”. "A strong, European partnership should be reached. Main goal: stable, reliable, from diversified sources and at affordable costs energy for everyone."

Minister of Economy of the Republic of North Macedonia Kreshnik Bekteshi stated that the gasification of the country is crucial for the economy. “Activities are underway for further construction of the existing gas pipeline system in the Republic of North Macedonia. At first quarter of this year, it is planned to start construction of the interconnector for gas connection with Greece, which will connect North Macedonia with the Southern Gas Corridor. We are already working on completing the projects for construction of an interconnector for gas connection with our northern neighbour Serbia. Additionally, construction of interconnectors for gas connection with Bulgaria and Albania is planned."

First Secretary of the Ukrainian Embassy in Azerbaijan Dmitry Berezhnoy considered the Southern Gas Corridor is a major breakthrough for the European energy security.

State Secretary at the Ministry of Capital Investments of Montenegro Marko Perunovic said: "To do proper transition, we have to be focus to provide stable natural gas supply. We are open to develop the Southern Gas Corridor and IAP project."

Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina Ljiljana Lovric and State Secretary at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Croatia Ivo Milatic noted that Ionian Adriatic Pipeline Project would improve gas sector in these countries.

Also, bp, TANAP, TAP AG, Azerbaijan Gas Supply Company and SOCAR submitted their reports on the project at this session.

During the second session on energy transition, the expansion of cooperation in the “green” energy field within the Advisory Council was brought to the attention. During the session, the representatives from EU Energy Directorate, bp, ACWA Power, Masdar, TotalEnergies, Eguinor and SOCAR made speeches on projects implemented in the direction of transition to clean energy, reduction of carbon emissions, and renewable energy cooperation.

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