Deputy Energy Minister Elnur Soltanov has said that Azerbaijan has sufficient reserves to increase gas supplies to Europe, local media reported, citing Anadolu.
He pointed out that, unlike the oil market, natural gas exports are increased only in response to specific consumer requests.
"Unlike oil market, gas fields are developed only in case of existence of buyers and signed agreements," he said.
He added that it is very difficult to balance supply and demand for oil and gas without a strategic vision and it takes about six to seven years to start production at a new field.
"In addition, investments are needed to maintain the infrastructure at the existing fields. Therefore, it is important to calculate everything and approach the issue strategically. The coronavirus pandemic disrupted these calculations and created uncertainty," he said.
The deputy energy minister drew attention to the serious efforts being made to implement the concept of green energy abroad. He noted that despite the fact that natural gas is considered the most environmentally friendly fossil fuel, against the background of global climate change, there are differences even on this issue.
"All of this has an impact on the banks' lending decisions as well as their prerogatives for strategic projects. As a result, the amount of work becomes more expensive," he said.
Soltanov recalled the weather conditions in Europe, where there has been unusually cold weather this season, resulting in a sharp increase in gas prices.
He recalled that Azerbaijan currently supplies 10 billion cubic meters of gas to the European market, which is a significant volume for countries such as Greece and Bulgaria.
Moreover, the official briefed on the plans to expand the third phase of work on the development of the Shah Deniz field. He noted that the Absheron field also has sufficient gas reserves, adding that there are large reserves at the Shafag-Asiman, Umit and Babek fields.
Earlier it was reported that the European Union had discussed with Azerbaijan and several other countries the possibility of increasing gas supplies.
Azerbaijan started commercial gas supplies to Europe through the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) on December 31, 2020.
Earlier, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in his interview stated that about 19 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas will be exported in 2022. Of this volume, more than 8 billion cubic meters will be exported to Turkey and more than 7 billion cubic meters to Italy. The remaining gas will be divided between Georgia, Bulgaria, and Greece.