“We, of course, are very modest when we give these figures,” Aliyev said in comments on his website. “We only give figures that we’re fully confident we can deliver. I’m sure we’ll have more.”
The European Union signed a memorandum of understanding in July to increase gas shipments from the Caspian Sea nation, as the bloc seeks to reduce its dependency on Russian flows.
While the Azeri target is just a fraction of what Russia used to supply to Europe, it could be significant as there are doubts Moscow will restore shipments, even after the war in Ukraine ends. The doubled exports from Azerbaijan would equate to 30% of what Russia’s key Nord Stream pipeline delivered last year, before supplies were halted by the Kremlin.
That agreement with the EU requires billions of dollars of investments to increase production and boost the capacity of the Southern Gas Corridor, a network of pipelines connecting Azerbaijan with Europe via Georgia and Turkey.
“This, of course, requires big investments,” Aliyev said in comments posted late Thursday. “We’re ready for it and are already doing it.”
Azerbaijan’s natural gas exports are expected to rise by 30% to 40% this year, after a 40% increase in 2021, the president said, without giving figures. Most of the gas is shipped to Turkey and Italy, while Georgia, Greece and Bulgaria also import the fuel.
Gas production will increase as new projects come online and existing deposits pump more, Aliyev said. Azerbaijan also expects to export more of its gas production by investing in renewable energy for domestic use.
The country is also working to improve efficiencies at home and curb distribution losses. Azerbaijan’s domestic gas consumption grew 3% in the second quarter to 2.2 billion cubic meters from a year earlier, according to the state energy company Socar.