President Klaus Iohannis stated on Friday that Romania remains highly interested in accessing additional volumes of Caspian gas in order to cover the growing national consumption, told Agerpres.
"Since the very beginning, Romania has recognized the important contribution that Azerbaijan and the Southern Gas Corridor bring to fulfilling Europe's energy needs. Romania has pledged its continuous commitment to be part of the efforts aimed at developing and expanding the Corridor towards new markets in Central and South-East Europe. And we remain highly interested in accessing additional volumes of Caspian gas to cover our own growing national consumption," the head of state said at the ministerial meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council in Baku, opened alongside his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev.
President Klaus Iohannis underscored that, in the past years, Romania has made substantial investments in developing the gas transmission capacity, but also the connectivity with the neighboring countries. Among these, he said that Romania have laid a brand-new transport infrastructure across the country, namely the Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria gas interconnector (BRUA) gas pipeline - and completed the upgrade of interconnectors with Bulgaria and Hungary.
"Romania's Transgaz has joined forces with gas transmission system operators in Greece, Bulgaria, and Hungary for the development of the Vertical Corridor. The renewed Memorandum of Understanding signed by the four companies in December 2022 will enable bi-directional gas flows between South and Central Europe, through Romania, enhancing the security of supply in the whole region. (...) Since January 2022, and also as a result of investments made by the Romanian gas transmission operator, the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline can operate in reverse-flow mode. This provides an alternative supply route to gas volumes from Azerbaijan, through Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania, and onwards to markets downstream. (...) The gas pipeline connecting the Romanian gas network to the capital city of Chisinau has been commissioned in October 2021 and is now fully operational. The pipeline can carry enough gas to cover the yearly consumption of right-bank Moldova," Iohannis added.
He concluded that all these consistent efforts and solid investments which Romania made provide solid options for expanding the Southern Gas Corridor towards new markets in South-East and Central Europe.
"This is a win-win situation: the geography of Azerbaijan gas exports is diversifying, while strengthening Europe's energy security," Iohannis stated.
According to the president, the Southern Gas Corridor has proved, in the two years since becoming operations, its strategic importance for Europe's energy security.
"We have to commend all those who showed vision, political will and determination to make this Corridor a reality," the head of state said.
He showed that this Corridor becomes even more important at this particular time, when Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine has drastically changed the geopolitical context, especially when we talk about energy security. The head of state mentioned that, in this context, the European Union and the member states "have taken decisive steps to substantially reduce the dependence on unreliable gas sources, as they carry a geopolitical price tag that is just too high to pay."
"This strategic course of action towards trustworthy partners such as Azerbaijan, has been long advocated by Romania. And we have enjoyed the benefits of the Strategic Partnership between Romania and Azerbaijan, since its launch in 2009," the president stated.
He pointed out that the responses to Europe's questions in terms of energy require solidarity, regional cooperation and a diversification of sources and transport routes, and these are key principles, which are encapsulated by projects such as the Southern Gas Corridor.
President Iohannis said that last year everyone has to confront with unprecedented energy challenges: gas shortages or lack of affordable gas supplies, price volatility, market turbulence, and these challenges required complex policies and regulatory shifts.
"The gas from Azerbaijan, delivered through the Southern Corridor, came as a safety net for many states in the region. The assurances given by Azerbaijan, personally by President Aliyev, on the availability of Caspian gas for the European market, have provided much-needed stability and predictability at a very stressful juncture for the markets. The conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding on a Strategic Partnership in the field of Energy signed by the European Union and Azerbaijan in July 2022 opens the way for further cementing the role of the Southern Corridor as an essential component of the EU's diversification strategy," the head of state said.
The 9th Ministerial Meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council in Baku is also attended by European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, as well as officials from many countries such as Azerbaijan, Turkey, Italy, the UK, Georgia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine, Croatia.