Europe can reduce Russia’s influence on its energy supply via the Caspian region and its key energy player Azerbaijan, said the article published in the US Foreign Policy Journal.
"A nation with strong ties to the West and a long and well-established oil and gas industry, Azerbaijan borders the Caspian Sea and therefore has ready access to its vast energy reserves,” the article said. "In addition, Azerbaijan’s oil and gas pipelines are essential to Europe’s energy security. Azerbaijan’s impact on European energy independence could be huge.”
Europe and high-production fields of Azerbaijan are connected by three gas pipelines collectively known as the Southern Gas Corridor, the article said.
According to the article, the South Caucasus Pipeline transports natural gas from the Shah Deniz field to Azerbaijan and then on to Georgia and Turkey, providing those countries with a significant measure of energy independence.
According to the article, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline’s reach to Europe has plenty of room for scaling up. Its terminus in Italy allows it to connect to other pipelines and modes of transportation. This means that Azerbaijani gas will be able to reach Austria and Hungary. Another connected pipeline can reach Germany and France. It is possible to imagine Caspian Sea gas powering London homes.
The Southern Gas Corridor forms the strongest counterpoint to Russia’s domination of European energy needs. The Shah Deniz Stage 2 field expansion and the Trans Anatolian Pipeline will carry more than enough gas to supply the capital cities of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece and Italy, the article said.
Azerbaijan is increasingly seen as an antidote to Europe’s energy dependence, the article said.
Spain’s charge d’affaires to Azerbaijan, Jose Luis Diez Juarez, noted that many European nations get their gas only from Russia, elevating the importance of the Shan Deniz Stage 2 project. ‘The strategic importance of this project is great,’ he said.
Azerbaijan may be much smaller than Russia. But thanks to its abundant energy reserves, consistent strategy and European-facing pipelines, it has become an outsized player in the global gas market and a key to Europe’s future energy security, the article said.