Mr Manlio Di Stefano, Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation held talks by phone today with Azerbaijan’s Minister for Energy, Mr Parviz Shahbazov, informing him that the Italian government is interested in increasing procurement of Azeri natural gas.
Some eight billion cubic metres of Azeri gas are conveyed every year to Italy via the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, which is currently running at 80% of its capacity. During the telephone conversation, Undersecretary Di Stefano stressed the need to reach ten billion cubic metres of natural gas as soon as possible, making the TAP run at full capacity.
The Undersecretary also mentioned the opportunity of strategically doubling the TAP capacity, so as to diversify natural gas supply sources and raise European energy security. Furthermore, in the long run, the infrastructure could be used to transport hydrogen.
Minister Shahbazov said Azerbaijan’s government is ready to increase the gas pipeline’s capacity, provided there is an increase in natural gas demand by economic operators in the medium and long run. In this regard, Undersecretary Di Stegano pointed out that a market test is underway to probe the availability of Italian operators.
During the talks, the parties also discussed the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project: should it be built, it could transport gas from Turkmenistan to Europe in the future. They also agreed to organise the next session of the Italy-Azerbaijan Bilateral Joint Economic Commission, co-chaired by Minister Shahbazov and Undersecretary Di Stefano themselves.
Finally, Undersecretary Di Stefano and Minister Shahbazov stressed the importance of partnership and friendship ties between Italy and Azerbaijan, particularly focusing on the many cooperation opportunities existing between the enterprises of both countries.