EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev on Monday agreed to double imports of Azeri natural gas to the European Union.
“The European Union has therefore decided to diversify away from Russia and to turn towards more reliable, trustworthy partners and I’m glad to count Azerbaijan among them,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said after a meeting in Baku.
Under the deal, Azerbaijan will increase deliveries of natural gas to the EU from 8.1 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2021 to an expected 12 bcm in 2022, Ms von der Leyen said.
Ms Von der Leyen stated: “I want to emphasise three points from our Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The first is that we will double the supply of gas from Azerbaijan to the European Union. Indeed, with this MOU, we commit to the expansion of the Southern Gas Corridor. This is already a very important supply route for the European Union delivering currently more than 8 bcm, billion cubic metres, of gas per year and we will expand its capacity to 20 billion cubic metres in a few years.”
“From next year on, we should already reach 12 billion cubic metres. This will help compensate for cuts in supplies of Russian gas and contribute significantly to Europe’s security of supply,” Ursula von der Leyen said.
The EU has been seeking alternative gas suppliers to Russia since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The move, although broadly welcomed, has drawn criticism for not occurring earlier, given that member states will need to wait another five years until imports are significantly increased.
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