Russian gas returns to Azerbaijan
Russia's Gazprom has started natural gas deliveries to Azerbaijan, a source in the state oil company SOCAR said.
"This gas will be pumped into underground gas storage facilities for further use in processing or for domestic needs. If necessary, some volumes can be exported. These supplies will also allow SOCAR to check the capacity of its underground gas storage facilities," Trend cited the source as saying.
The relevant contract was signed in Moscow on November 21, 2017. Under the contract, it is planned to deliver 1.6 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to the Azerbaijani market.
The head of the 'Caspian Barrel' Center for Oil Research, Ilham Shaban, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the contract turned out to be quite serious. "1.6 billion cubic meters of gas per year is a significant amount. SOCAR representatives say that the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan has two underground gas storage facilities and their capabilities will be used to pump this gas, and it will either be consumed in the republic or exported to other countries," he said.
The expert recalled that SOCAR and Gazprom had signed even more significant contracts, while deliveries on them were not 100% obligatory. "The contracts for 2009 provided for the annual supply of about 5 billion cubic meters of gas - but they never reached such volumes. I assume that in the end it may not be 1.6 billion cubic meters, but only 1 billion cubic meters, or, on the contrary, 2 billion cubic meters," Ilham Shaban predicts.
The head of the 'Caspian Barrel' Center drew attention to the fact that Russian-Azerbaijani gas cooperation is not limited to just buying and selling. "The memorandum, signed by SOCAR and Gazprom, involves cooperation in the development and supply of gas equipment, as well as joint participation in third countries," he believes.
One of the directions of such cooperation is the use of the Azerbaijani infrastructure for pumping Russian gas to Iran, which was agreed by the presidents of the three countries during a recent meeting in Tehran. "Azerbaijan has a necessary infrastructure for this, in particular, the Hajigabul-Mozdok gas pipeline, which is capable of pumping 5 billion cubic meters of gas per year. In turn, there are opportunities to pump about 2 billion cubic meters of gas in year from Hajigabul to Iran, if the demand for Russian gas in Iran increases, SOCAR may build another compressor station. then Azerbaijan can become a transit country," Shahban concluded.