The magazine points out that although the consequences of the energy crisis have been mitigated, Europe is still facing certain challenges in this area.
“So far, an energy crisis has been somewhat averted in Europe. But policy and political risk remain,” the author of the article emphasizes.
The author believes Ruben Vardanyan, a fugitive Russian billionaire of Armenian origin, is one of the destabilizing factors in the region that may pose a threat to Azerbaijani gas supplies to Europe. The article says Vardanyan is plundering gold, copper and molybdenum mines belonging to Azerbaijan. Janusz Bugajski, a senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, wrote in an op-ed in The Hill on Jan. 27 that, Vardanyan is trying to destabilize the situation and manipulate it with fictitious figures.
The other risk is Iran.
“Tehran has its own problems with Azerbaijan. First, Iran also does not like Azerbaijan’s close diplomatic ties with Israel, a country it does not recognize has a right to exist. Furthermore, the proposed Zangezur corridor, a transit route that would connect Azerbaijan and Turkey would intercept land connecting Iran and Armenia. Iran hates this idea, according to analysis by Jamestown Foundation published in the fall. Last week, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard published a video warning to Azerbaijan – a clip with children in military outfits standing at the border with Iranian flags,” the article says.
The article also mentions the terrorist attack on the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Iran on January 27.
The author highlights Azerbaijan’s direct role in preventing the deepening of the energy crisis in Europe: “Robin Brooks, the chief economist for the Institute of International Finance, noted on Jan. 26 that falling prices are a mixed signal for Europe. There is still an ‘energy shock’, if not a crisis, Brooks wrote on his Twitter page. Electricity prices are higher in some countries, led by Germany, the heart of the European economy. The European Union has fairly successfully cut off Russian oil and gas from its energy matrix, though some gas is still piped in through Turkish Stream and as liquified natural gas (LNG). Some Russian crude is coming in through transshipments. To replace them, new energy alliances with Qatar, Egypt, Azerbaijan (natural gas) and the United States have come to the fore.”
The US has replaced some Russian natural gas supply with liquified natural gas, or LNG. This requires LNG ports, which Europe needs more but has enough to turn the US into its main LNG supplier. The US became the world’s largest LNG exporter, thanks to Europe, in the first quarter of 2022, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Nevertheless, LNG prices are higher than piped natural gas, and the EU has to look elsewhere for cheap, piped gas.
“Russian gas exports used to be about 40% of the total amount of gas imported by European countries and 60% for Germany’s imported gas supply. Over the last 20 years, the EU has increased its purchases of Russian gas by 150%, according to industry estimates. Azerbaijan became a solution for natural gas last summer. The country already supplies oil and gas to Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Croatia and the Czech Republic. In 2022, the volume of Azerbaijani gas supplies to the EU reached 12 billion cubic meters, and it will double imports of natural gas by 2027, the EU has stated. Azerbaijan has already ‘saved Italy from de-industrialization’, Matteo Villa, head of the Institute for International Political Studies DataLab, reportedly told an Azeri newspaper, highlighting the value of the two-year old Trans-Adriatic Pipeline. This pipeline connects to the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) that connects to the South Caucasus Pipeline in Azerbaijan,” the Forbes article says.