Croatia and Azerbaijan discuss possibility to expand cooperation on energy

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Parviz Shahbazov, the Minister of Energy in Azerbaijan and the Ambassador of Croatia to Azerbaijan, Branko Zebic, have been discussing the possibility of the two countries cooperating on energy and knowledge sharing.

The two discussed the role being played by their countries towards the implementation of the Ionian-Adriatic Pipeline (IAP) project.

According to media reports, the Croatian Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, said: “Plinacro, Gas Transmission System Operator, is taking an active role in preparation and implementation of the IAP and are in contact with colleagues from Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Further improving interstate cooperation is in the interest of both of our countries and the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation certainly contributes to the development of bilateral relations. Its work is crucial in establishing direct contacts and activities of companies and other legal entities in line with the goal of encouraging investments and promoting the exchange of information in economic areas.”

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The IAP gas transmission line is expected to be 516km in length to supply natural gas to Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to Croatia from Azerbaijan. From Croatia, the natural gas can then be delivered to other European countries.

The pipeline is expected to be one of the most crucial energy projects in southeast Europe as it will transport up to five billion cubic meters of gas per year.

Azerbaijan holds the key for Europe’s reduced dependence on Russia’s natural gas and the stability of natural gas supply and prices in the region hence the need to develop the IAP natural gas transportation pipeline.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, commented: “Natural gas pipelines such as TAP, IGB and IAP form two critical corridors: the Southern energy grid from the Caspian to the Balkans and central Europe and the vertical energy axis, from the Balkans to the rest of the continent. These projects, either at the completion stage or at the planning stage, need to be accelerated.”

Azerbaijan continues to explore new natural gas wells and has committed to expand its production, a development that will further stabilise energy security in south-east Europe.

During a 2019 visit to Croatia, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, said: “Azerbaijan has very large gas reserves. Confirmed gas reserves stand at 2.6 trillion cubic meters. This indicates that we will take additional steps to increase gas production and we also intend to expand the geography of our exports.”

According to a study, The future of gas in Europe, released by think tank CEPS, although Europe transitions to low-carbon energy sources such as solar, wind and green hydrogen, natural gas is expected to remain an important energy source in the region’s energy mix through 2050.

European countries are likely to continue to switch to natural gas as they shut off coal-fired power plants between 2030 and 2050.

Up until 2030, the demand for natural gas is projected to remain stable, according to the study.

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.