MOSCOW, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Azerbaijan plans to slightly increase its natural gas exports to Europe next year, the country’s president was quoted as saying on Saturday, as Brussels seeks to replace falling energy supplies from Russia.
President Ilham Aliyev said his country’s gas exports to Europe were set to rise to “at least” 11.6 billion cubic metres (bcm) next year from an estimated 11.3 bcm this year, the Interfax news agency reported.
Last year, Azerbaijan supplied 8.2 bcm of the fuel to Europe, he added.
SEE ALSO: Four leaders sign agreement to bring green Azeri energy to Europe
Aliyev said Azerbaijan’s total gas exports, including supplies to Turkey, were forecast to increase to about 24 bcm next year, up from 19 bcm in 2021, Interfax reported.
Russian energy giant Gazprom said on Thursday its gas exports to non-CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries were down 45.1% to 97.8 bcm between Jan. 1 and Dec. 15 from the same period in 2021.
The International Energy Agency has said that if Russia was to cut the small share of gas it still delivers to Europe, and Chinese gas demand rebounded from COVID-19 lockdown-induced lows, the European Union could face a gas shortfall of 27 bcm in 2023.
Total EU gas consumption was 412 bcm in 2021.
The leaders of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Hungary also signed an agreement on Saturday on an underwater electric cable under the Black Sea to carry green Azeri energy to Europe.
(Reporting by Vladimir SoldatkinEditing by Helen Popper)