Plans coordinated last year between Azerbaijan and the European Union concerning Baku’s aspiration to double the volume of gas it sends to Europe have been suspended, as European gas buyers have not yet confirmed their intention to purchase it. In simple terms, the EU found no need for Azerbaijani gas, as reported by OilPrice.
The underground storage units are full, vast volumes of overseas LNG have been contracted, and given the dwindling heavy industry, existing capacities are more than sufficient. What seemed important and necessary last year has now turned into a burden, excess expenditure, and simply a mistake due to hastiness.
Speaking to journalists at a roundtable meeting in Ankara on September 14, Turkey’s Minister of Energy, Alparslan Bayraktar, confirmed that the ministry instructed the TANAP pipeline operator, through which Azerbaijani gas is transported to Greece via Turkey, to prepare for pipeline expansion. Its peak capacity should reach 31 billion cubic meters per year, to pump an additional 10 billion agreed upon by Baku.
However, the Turkish official added that, as far as he knows, neither the operators of major Azerbaijani gas fields nor the operators of the three pipelines through which gas flows from Azerbaijan to European markets have received confirmation that the commodity indeed has a market in Europe, will be demanded, and will find its customers.
This shaky status of the deal, which the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen had presented as her own achievement and victory, casts doubt over the EU as a whole and tarnishes its image. Due to the gas agreement, Brussels did not intervene in the war between the now former Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan. Now, both the unrecognized entity and energy cooperation are in question, and implementing sanctions against Baku is too late and futile, even though the opportunity arose for this action.
The deal from 2022 turned out to be surprisingly unsuccessful and geopolitically harmful to the bloc, placing it in an awkward position due to the situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan.