Romanian Energy Minister Sebastian Burduja

Romanian Energy Minister Sebastian Burduja

In light of geopolitical turmoil and Europe's growing dependence on alternative energy sources, Romania has suddenly become a key player on the energy chessboard. Bordering the Black Sea, this country is positioning itself as a new gateway for Azerbaijani gas supplies to Europe, playing a vital role in ensuring the continent's energy security.

Azerbaijan is a producer and exporter of gas, and Romania is the gateway to Europe, Romanian Energy Minister Sebastian Burduja said during a briefing following the results of the VIII meeting of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission of Azerbaijan and Romania held in Baku today.

"We are also a large market for gas consumption, as well as other goods such as fertilizers, pharmaceuticals and so on. We strive to ensure that gas from Azerbaijan can enter the European market, obviously through Romania," the Romanian minister said. The parties intend to discuss the increase in Azerbaijani gas supplies to Romania and work on the relevant infrastructure and legal aspects.

Gas contract

As you know, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), stretching from the Caspian Sea to Italy through Turkiye, Greece and Albania, is a key link in the Southern Gas Corridor for transporting Azerbaijani gas to Europe. Romania, as the terminus of the Trans-Balkan Pipeline connecting TAP with Bulgaria, Hungary and Ukraine, has become a key link in this supply chain.

During the meeting of the intergovernmental commission, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) expressed its readiness to extend the gas supply contract signed with Romania until 2026.

SOCAR Vice President Elshad Nasirov said that the contract for the supply of natural gas to Romania expired on March 31. Under the contract, SOCAR had the opportunity to supply 1 billion cubic meters of gas annually without any binding conditions. "We are ready to extend the project this year and next," Nasirov said.

He shared statistics: over the past 3 years, SOCAR has supplied 1.2 million tons of petroleum products worth 800 million US dollars to Romania. SOCAR Turkiye supplied 1.1 million tons of petroleum products and 33 thousand tons of chemical products worth 1.1 billion US dollars to Romania, and SOCAR Trading supplied about 700 thousand tons of petroleum products worth 600 million US dollars.

According to Nasirov, SOCAR operates 74 gas stations in Romania, and investments in the creation of infrastructure in this country amounted to 70 million euros.

Geopolitical aspect

The war in Ukraine and Europe's desire to diversify energy sources followed the abandonment of Russian gas, which prompted the search for alternative routes. In this situation, Romania, which has a developed infrastructure and an advantageous geographical location, found itself in the spotlight.

Accordingly, Romania's role as a transit state for Azerbaijani gas will only increase. There are plans to expand TAP, which will increase the volume of supplies.

Romania's transformation into a gateway for Azerbaijani gas to Europe marks a new chapter in the history of this country. This is not only a geopolitical turnaround, but also an opportunity for economic growth and development.

Economic prospects

Romania's transformation into a gas hub carries a number of economic benefits. The transit of Azerbaijani gas through the country stimulates the development of the energy sector, creates new jobs and increases tax revenues. In addition, this may lead to lower gas prices for Romanian consumers, which will be welcome in the face of rising energy costs.

Meanwhile, along with gas cooperation, as Burduja noted, Romania hopes for progress in the implementation of the Agreement on Strategic Partnership in the field of green energy supplies between the governments of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Hungary and Romania.

The minister noted that Romania intends to work on a new project for a liquefied natural gas terminal, "which will serve our two countries."

Among the most important projects to be discussed in detail in Baku, the minister named the project for the delivery of liquefied natural gas from SOCAR's Kulevi terminal to the port of Constanta, the Back Sea Energy project for the delivery of "green" energy from future wind farms of the Caspian Sea.

According to Elshad Nasirov, in order to implement new energy projects with Romania, it is necessary to coordinate a number of issues with the regulator in Romania.

The Vice President of the State Oil Company noted that SOCAR is waiting for detailed proposals from the Romanian side on the LNG project, as well as on the Black Sea Energy project.

However, there are other potentially mutually beneficial areas of the economy for cooperation. In addition to energy cooperation, issues of cooperation in the field of tourism and cultural exchanges were discussed in Baku.

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