Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The European Commission proposed a natural gas agreement with Azerbaijan as part of efforts to wean the bloc off Russian gas imports.
In a draft memorandum of understanding, the EC proposed expansion of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to increase natural gas imports from Azerbaijan, according to Reuters reporting on Thursday.
The draft document still needs to be approved by the governments involved and is subject to change.
“The Sides aspire to support bilateral trade of natural gas, including through exports to the EU, via the Southern Gas Corridor, of at least 20 billion cubic metres of gas annually by 2027, in accordance with commercial viability and market demand,” the document reads.
The TAP is the European section of the Southern Gas Corridor natural gas pipeline network and transported more than 8 billion cubic metres of gas from Azerbaijan to Europe last year.
According to EC’s proposal, both Azerbaijan and the EU are to support expansion of the pipeline with the aim of increasing deliveries to the bloc.
The Commission stressed that the pipeline could be used to transport low-carbon gases in the future, which is in line with the bloc’s green push.
Besides expansion of the pipeline, the plan would require Azerbaijan to increase production of natural gas.
In the draft document, the EC stressed the importance of “long-term, predictable and stable contracts” for producers of natural gas.
At the same time, the body pointed out that natural gas agreements would have to be in line with the EU’s environmental plans, which include steep decline of natural gas consumption to meet climate targets.
The Commission added that Azerbaijan and the bloc should step up efforts to limit leaks and emissions of methane, which is a greenhouse gas.
The EU is concerned that Russia could further cut natural gas deliveries to Europe as maintenance of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline started earlier this week.
Russia previously stressed that lower flow through the pipeline was due to technical issues, noting that it had not received the gas turbine sent for repairs to Canada.
Besides cooperation on gas, the draft document proposes development of electricity interconnections and talks on hydrogen trade in the future.