President Klaus Iohannis stated, on Friday, during the official visit to Azerbaijan, that Romania remains “strongly interested” in purchasing gas from the Caspian region to cover the growing national consumption, adding that the gas delivered from Azerbaijan has become a “safety net ” for the states in the region.
“From the very beginning, Romania recognized the important contribution that Azerbaijan and the Southern Gas Corridor have in covering Europe’s energy needs. Romania offered the guarantee of its unbroken commitment to be part of the efforts aimed at developing and expanding the Corridor to us markets in Central and South-Eastern Europe. We remain strongly interested in accessing additional volumes of Caspian gas to cover our growing national consumption,” said the Romanian President at the ministerial meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Consultative Council, opened together with the Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev.
“We all faced unprecedented energy challenges in 2022: gas shortages or lack of affordable gas sources, price fluctuations, market turbulence. These challenges required complex policies and regulatory changes. Gas from Azerbaijan , delivered through the Southern Corridor, has come as a safety net for many states in the region,” added the president.
Klaus Iohannis pointed out that, in recent years, Romania has made investments in the development of gas transport capacity, but also in connectivity with neighboring countries. Among them, he indicated the BRUA gas pipeline and the completion of the expansion of the interconnectors with Bulgaria and Hungary.
“The Romanian company Transgaz has joined forces with the gas transmission system operators from Greece, Bulgaria and Hungary, to develop the Vertical Corridor. The Memorandum of Understanding, updated and signed by the four companies in December 2022, will allow a two-way gas flow between southern and central Europe, through Romania, improving the security of supply throughout the region. (…) Starting from January 2022 and as a result of the investments made by the Romanian gas supply operator, the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline can operate in a flow regime vice versa. This offers an alternative for the supply chain of gas volumes from Azerbaijan, through Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania, but also further downstream markets. (…) The gas pipeline connecting the Romanian gas network with the capital Chisinau was commissioned in October 2021 and is now fully operational. The pipeline can carry enough gas to cover the annual consumption of the Republic of Moldova on the right bank,” Iohannis added.
President Iohannis said that all these efforts made by Romania offer solid options for expanding the Southern Gas Corridor to new markets in Central and Southeast Europe. “This is a mutually beneficial situation: the geography of Azerbaijan’s gas exports is diversifying, while Europe’s energy security is being strengthened,” Iohannis said.
According to President Iohannis, the Southern Gas Corridor has demonstrated, in the two years since it has been operational, its strategic importance for Europe’s energy security.
President Klaus Iohannis also stated during the visit to Azerbaijan that Romania is an important producer of hydrocarbures in Europe at this moment and that our country intends to further strengthen this role by further developing the gas reserves in the Black Sea.
“Natural gas remains a critical complementary element in supporting the decarbonisation process. Within the European Union, Romania has been actively advocating for the inclusion of natural gas and nuclear energy in the green taxonomy, as essential technologies in the transition process to a carbon-free economy. We thus see a predictable and long-term use of natural gas in the European Union’s economy. Romania is currently a significant producer of hydrocarbons in Europe, a role that we intend to enhance with the gas reserves already discovered in the Black Sea. Moreover, additional substantial volumes will become available in 2026-2027. Romania will be able to contribute further to the energy security and resilience in Europe,” said Iohannis.
He reiterated Romania’s strong engagement in promoting energy cooperation in the region, both through capitalizing on available energy production potential and on cross-border energy transport infrastructure. An important example in this respect is the Agreement on Strategic Partnership in the field of green energy development and transmission between the Governments of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania, and Hungary, signed during the visit of President Aliyev to Bucharest, on 17 December 2022.
“Through this Agreement, we will develop a Black Sea Green Electricity submarine cable, providing valuable contributions to a stronger European energy security. This Strategic Partnership is also in line with the REPowerEU plan and will strengthen economic growth, security, resilience and climate action for Europe and for our partners,” said Iohannis.
According to him, energy cooperation between the European Union and its member states, on one hand, and Azerbaijan, on the other hand, has a strategic priority.