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Azerbaijan seeks to expand gas supplies to EU amid energy crisis

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev (file photo)

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev says his country is willing to expand its natural gas supplies to Europe, as spiraling gas prices have triggered an energy crisis and caused division among the European Union (EU)’s leaders ahead of the winter.

Gas markets swung sharply on Wednesday, with Europe and Britain’s gas prices surging by more than 25 percent.

Azerbaijan is currently supplying 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year to Italy, Greece and Bulgaria through the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) via Georgia and Turkey.

At a meeting with the EU’s newly appointed ambassador to Baku, President Aliyev said Azerbaijan can supply natural gas to other members of the trade union.

“Azerbaijan began natural gas supplies to Europe in 2020 and we can become a natural gas supplier to other European countries as well,” Aliyev told Ambassador Peter Michalko on Wednesday.

He said Baku considers “jointly working with the EU to expand the geography of our supplies… especially now, in this winter, everybody sees that alternative source from the alternative route is exactly energy security.”

In December, the energy-rich Caspian nation started shipping gas to the EU.

Europe is heavily reliant on energy supplies from Russia. Amid the current energy crisis, Ukraine and other eastern European countries accuse Moscow of withholding gas supplies to pressure the West.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia, however, has blamed the West for the current energy crisis. He believes what is happening in Europe is due to the “unbalanced decisions” and “drastic steps” they take.

“There is hysteria and some confusion in the markets. Why? Because no one is taking it seriously.”

The European Commission will next week propose measures to mitigate the price surge for consumers.

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