Wednesday, 10 August, 2022

EU seeks to double gas imports from Azerbaijan within ‘few years’

BAKU: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday said the European Union is seeking to double gas imports from Azerbaijan as it seeks non-Russian suppliers after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Natural gas supplies have emerged as a weapon between Russia and Europe since Moscow's February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

"The EU is turning to more reliable energy suppliers. Today I'm in Azerbaijan to sign a new agreement," von der Leyen said on Twitter, reports AFP.

"Our goal: double the gas delivery from Azerbaijan to the EU in a few years. Azerbaijan will be a crucial partner for our security of supply and on our way to climate neutrality."

Ahead of the visit, the European Commission said: "Amid Russia's continued weaponisation of its energy supplies, diversification of our energy imports is a priority for the EU."

Last year, Azerbaijan supplied some eight billion cubic metres of natural gas to Europe through pipelines running via Georgia and Turkey.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said last week that "an important document on energy security will be signed between the European Union and Azerbaijan."

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.

But the bloc put off an outright ban on Russian gas, which in 2021 amounted to 155 billion cubic metre -- nearly 40 percent of EU's needs.