European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev signed a deal Thursday in which Azerbaijan commits to supplying Europe with “substantial volumes of gas.”
In the agreement, Azerbaijan promises the EU to provide sufficient gas to enable the creation of the so-called southern corridor bypassing Russia.
The EU said the agreement was an important step in reducing the bloc’s dependence on deliveries from Russia. Baku has not decided yet whether the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline project will be awarded the big Shah Deniz II gas field.
On Wednesday, Azerbaijan agreed to export at least 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year to Iran.
The supplies will start Feb. 1 under a five-year contract, and export volumes may be increased in the future, said Rovnag Abdullayev, head of State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, or Socar, at the televised signing ceremony in Baku. Abdullayev didn’t give the value of the contract with Iran.
Exports to Iran could double to 2 billion cubic meters next year, Azeri news agency APA reported, citing Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mir-Kazemi.