Depending on European demand for natural gas, Azerbaijan may support a trans-Caspian pipeline to export Turkmenistan’s gas westward, the Energy Minister of Azerbaijan Parviz Shahbazov said in an interview with Bloomberg in the capital Baku on Wednesday.
“For that to happen, we have to have new contracts between buyers and sellers,” Shahbazov stated.
He also said governments and companies in Eastern and Southern Europe expressed an interest in buying gas from Azerbaijan.
Natural gas prices surged this year to record highs, with Europe entering winter with the lowest storage levels in at least a decade, according to the Bloomberg.
“We’re in contact with existing and potential buyers,” Shahbazov said. “The likelihood of new sales contracts being secured in the future is quite high.”
Azerbaijan started exporting gas to Europe in December from the BP Plc-led Shah Deniz deposit via the $33 billion Southern Gas Corridor (SGC). That connects the Caspian Sea region with Italy, while the country also sells gas to neighboring Georgia and Turkey.
New gas supply opportunities will be considered early next year at an annual meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council, a platform bringing together companies and governments from about 20 countries, Shahbazov stated.
The SGC is an initiative of the European Commission for a natural gas supply route from Caspian and Middle Eastern regions to Europe. The goal of the SGC is to diversify Europe's sources of energy supply.
Turkmenistan is one of the largest gas resource holders in the Caspian region and has the world's fourth largest proven natural gas reserves.
In January, Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Governments of the two states on joint exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources of the Dostluk field in the Caspian Sea.