Azerbaijani gas will be an important source of stability, said the European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic in his video message to participants of the 24th Caspian International Oil and Gas Exhibition, which kicked off in Baku May 31.
“I am striving for a common energy space, which is secure, competitive, affordable and sustainable,” he said.
The Energy Union rests on two important pillars – internally: The EU member states working together and externally: working with our energy partners around the world, added the EU commissioner.
“Azerbaijan is a very important partner for Europe. It is the key enabler of the Southern Gas Corridor, which is strategic in helping the EU to further diversify its energy sources, to achieve its climate goals and to improve geopolitical balance and stability in Europe,” said Sefcovic.
He expressed confidence about bringing Azerbaijani gas to Europe in 2020.
“It will help us with our goals as I just mentioned and it will of course serve all the participating countries, both in and outside the EU,” said the EU commissioner. “This gas will be an important source of revenues and an important source of stability and security, which arises from a firm reliable partnership. This is a project of vast proportions, and has therefore been prominent on our agenda for a considerable time now.”
He recalled that in fact, the Joint Declaration on the Southern Gas Corridor was signed with Azerbaijan’s President Iham Aliyev already more than 6 years ago, in early 2011.
“When you multiply the time which has been invested in this process with the political level at which it is being promoted, you are really able to appreciate its historic importance,” said Sefcovic.
He pointed out that considerable progress has been achieved in the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project over the past years – on the ground, in the ground, on the water and under the water.
Works are well advanced on Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field, in expanding the South Caucasus Pipeline, and building the major Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), said the EU commissioner, adding that also the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is progressing.
“Due credit for this remarkable progress belongs to the companies and institutions, which are also present today at the exhibition and the conference, to the governments and their agencies, also to this atmosphere of trust and cooperation that we have established over these years of working together,” he noted.
Sefcovic pointed out that all these pipeline projects have received the status of ‘Projects of Common EU Interest’ and have been included in the Energy Union’s list of critical projects.
TANAP has also received financial assistance under the ‘Connecting Europe Facility’, he added.
“I am also very glad that European financial institutions are moving on with their procedures, which I strongly hope, will result in satisfactory outcomes,” said the EU commissioner.
In this context, Sefcovic stressed the importance of the negotiations on the new EU-Azerbaijan Comprehensive Framework Agreement.
“These were officially launched during President Aliyev’s visit to Brussels in February this year. I am confident that the resulting agreement will further strengthen the mutually beneficial cooperation between the European Union and Azerbaijan,” he said.
Sefcovic further noted that the cooperation of EU with Azerbaijan already serves all three objectives of Energy Union: security, competitiveness, and sustainability.
“There is much more we can do together – especially regarding environmental and climate issues,” he said. “Last November, the European Commission showed how serious we are about tackling these issues. We launched a proposal to raise our energy efficiency target to 30 percent and to make it binding.”
Saved energy is on its way from the so-called “fifth kind of energy” to the “first kind of energy”, according to Sefcovic.
“Clearly, advancing renewable energy sources and increasing energy efficiency will serve well both us and the consumers,” he said. “At the same time, it will serve well also our providers, who will be able to export the energy they can produce, but do not need to use.”
Clean energy transition is a unique opportunity to boost investment, economic growth, and create jobs, said the EU commissioner, adding that in this field, EU commitment does not stay in Europe.
“We are ready to provide our experience and assistance to other countries around the world. We are ready to support Azerbaijan in its transition to a low-carbon economy,” said Sefcovic. “We are reaffirming our commitment to the Southern Gas Corridor, which is helping us with our own transition.”
The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority energy projects for the EU. It envisages the transportation of gas from the Caspian region to the European countries through Georgia and Turkey.
At the initial stage, the gas to be produced as part of the Stage 2 of development of Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field is considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor projects. Other sources can also connect to this project at a later stage.
As part of the Stage 2 of the Shah Deniz development, the gas will be exported to Turkey and European markets by expanding the South Caucasus Pipeline and the construction of Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline and Trans Adriatic Pipeline.