The European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of energy with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.
“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,” said President von der Leyen. “Not only are we looking to strengthen our existing partnership which guarantees stable and reliable gas supplies to the EU via the Southern Gas Corridor. We are also laying the foundations of a long-term partnership on energy efficiency and clean energy, as we both pursue the objectives of the Paris Agreement. But energy is only one of the areas where we can enhance our cooperation with Azerbaijan and I look forward to tapping the full potential of our relationship”.
The MoU includes a commitment to double the capacity of the Southern Gas Corridor to deliver at least 20 billion cubic metres (bcm) to the EU annually by 2027. This will contribute to the diversification objectives in the REPowerEU Plan and help Europe to end its dependency on Russian gas. Based on the strengthened energy cooperation, Azerbaijan is already now increasing deliveries of natural gas to the EU, from 8.1 bcm in 2021 to an expected 12 bcm in 2022.
“The new Memorandum of Understanding underlines the strategic role of the Southern Gas Corridor in our diversification efforts,” commented Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson. “Azerbaijan has already increased the natural gas deliveries to the EU and this trend will continue, with up to 4 bcm of additional gas this year and volumes expected to more than double by 2027. But our cooperation goes beyond that, accelerating the deployment of renewables and addressing methane emissions; these steps will both increase the security of supply and help achieve our climate goals.”
As stated in the MoU, the EU and Azerbaijan share the ambition to accelerate the development and deployment of renewable energy generation and transmission capacity to fully reap the synergies between the EU’s clean energy transition and Azerbaijan’s strong untapped renewable energy potential, in particular in the offshore energy sector.
Both parties also agreed on the importance of renewable hydrogen and other renewable gases as a sustainable solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in hard-to-decarbonise industrial processes, economic sectors and applications such as power generation. By signing the MoU, the EU and Azerbaijan pledged to continue cooperation in discussing prospects for the development of generation capacity, transport and trade of renewable hydrogen and other renewable gases; using renewable hydrogen and its derivatives in a large number of applications such as industrial processes and energy storage; and identifying and implementing appropriate means to ensure that bilateral trade and investment is not distorted.
The two parties also acknowledged the importance of the Global Methane Pledge and recognised that making the natural gas supply chain as efficient, environmentally and climate-friendly as possible is a collective responsibility. Thus, the MoU supports the creation of schemes to collect natural gas that would otherwise be vented, flared or released into the atmosphere.
Photo: European Union/2022