Turkey is ready to deepen cooperation with Azerbaijan and other countries in the region to enable the maximum benefit from the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), Energy and Natural Resources Minister said Friday, as the country is vital for Europe's energy supply security.
Fatih Dönmez spoke during the eighth Advisory Board Meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor (SCG), a route that brings supplies from the Caspian Sea to Europe and has been operational since 2020, held in Baku and chaired by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
Dönmez said that the high-level participation in the event showed the determination of the countries in the region to cooperate more. European Union's energy commissioner was also in Baku for the event. Officials from other European countries as well as the United Kingdom and the United States were also part of the delegation.
Pointing out that the cooperation between countries is developing more and more each year, taking into account the concerns of energy security and climate change, Dönmez said: “Energy transformation, which is a global phenomenon within the scope of collective efforts to combat climate change, is a necessity and all countries are facing the transformation process.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an economic recession and the energy sector was also affected significantly, Dönmez said, noting that a rapid recovery process started after the 4% decrease in global energy demand in 2020.
"This economic recovery puts serious pressures on some parts of today's energy system and causes sharp price increases in natural gas, coal and electricity markets," he said and that “these developments have proven the importance of regional cooperation for energy security."
He reiterated that the SGC would not have been possible without support from Turkey and Azerbaijan.
He stressed that Turkey “is the most reliable port for increasing the supply security of the EU.”
“Turkey has proven its reliability with its infrastructure investments and its success in international projects,” the minister added.
Dönmez said that additional reserves and additional source countries will be needed to increase the volume of gas transported through the pipelines connected to the SGC, emphasizing that Turkey “is ready to develop cooperation with Azerbaijan and other countries in the region.”
“TANAP has a maximum capacity of 31 billion cubic meters (bcm). We support initiatives to invest to use this who capacity,” he said.
EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson on Friday also met with Azerbaijan's Aliyev to discuss ramping up supplies from the energy-rich Caucasus country.
Western countries claim that Russia is plotting to attack Ukraine and this fanned fears that Moscow could suspend its gas supplies to Europe.
Some in the EU have accused Russia of orchestrating an energy crisis to pressurize Western countries.
"I want to thank Azerbaijan for their efforts in ramping up gas supplies traveling to the EU via the Southern Gas Corridor," Simson said on Twitter after meeting Aliyev.
After a meeting with Azeri Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov she added: "We agreed to step-up our partnership, both in the gas sector, but also in the field of #renewables."
Aliyev, for his part, hailed a new chapter in cooperation between the EU and his country.
"Cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan in the (energy) sphere has entered a new phase," Aliyev said in a statement.
The gas route involves pipelines going through Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Greece before reaching Italy via the Adriatic Sea.
Last year, Baku began sending gas toward Europe from its massive Shah Deniz field in the Caspian Sea.
The TANAP pipeline forms the backbone of the SGC.
Russia supplies more than 40% of European gas imports.