The Minister of Energy of Azerbaijan, Parviz Shahbazov, European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson and European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi have recognised the Southern Gas Corridor as an important new transmission system, which enables a secure, reliable and competitive supply of gas from the Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan to Europe.
During the seventh ministerial meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council, the strategic energy partnership between Azerbaijan and the European Union was acknowledged. The Southern Gas Corridor is a historic achievement that was built on the strong cooperation between the governments, international institutions, financial lender organisations, operators of upstream ventures and transportation systems, contractor companies, communities and local authorities along the entire 3,500 kilometres long value chain.
“It serves the strategic goal of enhancing the energy security of European countries, further facilitating the integration of the European energy market and contributing to the operational connectivity of gas networks across Southern and Central Europe,” agreed Mr Shahbazov, Mrs Simson and Mr Várhelyi.
Also, they emphasised the fundamental role of the government of Azerbaijan for its long-term commitment to the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor to secure diversified and stable gas deliveries to Europe and to bring the benefits of greater economic partnership.
“We support the efforts of all interested partners to explore the possibility of extension of the Southern Gas Corridor towards new energy markets based on technical, regulatory and commercial opportunities, including the Western Balkans, as they progress in their transition towards a decarbonised energy system,” they concluded.
Addressing the ministerial advisory panel of the Southern Gas Corridor, Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó announced that Hungary will complete the missing section of the pipeline through which Azerbaijani gas is set to arrive in the country by October. The minister hailed the completion of the Southern Gas Corridor and called for the soonest possible construction of the missing national sections in Europe. The Serbian section between the Hungarian and Bulgarian borders is already in place, he said, and he called for the section between Bulgaria and Greece to be completed as soon as possible.
The minister welcomed the potential to increase the corridor’s capacity and deliver new Azeri sources of supply in 2023. Accordingly, Hungary’s electricity and gas works are set to start talks with Azeri oil company Socar on the contractual arrangements that will form the basis of purchasing Azeri gas.
Hungarian oil and gas company MOL is the biggest central European investor in Azerbaijan and holds the third biggest portfolio in Azeri-Chiraw-Gunashli, that country’s biggest gas field, after BP and Socar.
Also, Bulgaria’s Minister of Energy Temenuzhka Petkova has recognised the Southern Gas Corridor as one of the biggest achievements of the past six years’ efforts in the field of the diversification of gas supplies. According to her, the project strengthens the energy security of both Bulgaria, the region of Southeast Europe and the European Union as a whole.
Bulgaria was among the first countries to receive gas from Azerbaijan through the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) at the end of December. Thus, for the next 25 years, Azerbaijan will supply 1 billion cubic metres of gas becoming the second-largest gas supplier for the country.
“Our country is an integral part of the development of the Southern Gas Corridor through the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector, which is important for the diversification of gas supplies,” said Minister Petkova.
According to her, the project is also key for the implementation of the joint initiative of Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary to build a vertical gas corridor for supplies from South to North.
Photo: Southern Gas Corridor.