Europeans are slowly making progress in finding alternatives to Russian gas. The EU signed a memorandum of understanding with Azerbaijan on Monday to double imports from the Caucasus country to at least 20 billion cubic meters per year by 2027.
“The EU is turning to more reliable energy suppliers,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Twitter. Azerbaijan is one of them.
The country will be an important partner “for our security of supply and on the way to climate neutrality,” said the EU Commission chief in the Azerbaijani capital. The declaration of intent opens “a new chapter in energy cooperation”.
The authoritarian former Soviet republic, which also has close ties to Russia, is a key partner in moving away from fossil fuels in Russia. 8.1 billion cubic meters are already being delivered annually, and from next year it should be 12 billion. “This will help offset cuts in Russian gas supplies.”
In Berlin, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi offered his country as a gas supplier for Europe and Germany. If Egypt can help, they will, he said on Monday after a meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin. He emphasized that it is always good not to have to rely on just one partner.
After the Russian attack on Ukraine, the EU Commission, some governments, but also numerous European gas companies went in search of alternative gas suppliers. For example, the Italian ENI has already signed preliminary contracts for LNG gas in Egypt and Angola. Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) had traveled to Qatar.
The EU Commission, in turn, has agreed with Israel and Egypt that in future Israeli gas from the eastern Mediterranean should be delivered to the EU via Egypt. At the same time, agreements were reached with the USA and Norway to increase gas supplies from these two countries. So far, however, this is not enough to replace the large amount of gas imported from Russia.
In Berlin, Scholz and al-Sissi emphasized that they also value a comprehensive partnership in the field of hydrogen. When investing in LNG terminals for liquid gas, the federal government also wants to ensure that these can also be used for the export and import of hydrogen after a transitional period.
Egypt also wants to become a hydrogen supplier. The North African country already produces natural gas and is also a key player in trying to stabilize oil and gas-rich neighbor Libya.