President Ilham Aliyev’s viable energy strategy – chances for Albania

President Ilham Aliyev’s viable energy strategy – chances for Albania

Over the past three decades, Azerbaijan and Albania have developed friendly interstate relations that have transformed into a partnership based on shared perspectives on various global issues. Currently, both countries are actively striving to enhance trade and cooperation across multiple domains to reach new heights.

The visit of President of Albania Bajram Begaj to Azerbaijan has definitely set another milestone in mutual cooperation between the two countries, fostering mutual cooperation and demonstrating commitment to resolving issues of global matter. While on a visit, President Begaj has once again confirmed the willingness of Albania to establish its diplomatic representation in Azerbaijan. This crucial step will become one of the catalysators of further exploration of new opportunities for trade and investment.

Through mutual goodwill and cooperation, the two countries have effectively transformed promises and commitments into tangible actions. As President Ilham Aliyev reiterated yesterday, while giving a joint press statement with his Albanian counterpart, Azerbaijani investors are ready to seriously consider investment projects in Albania in various spheres.

Undoubtedly, energy cooperation continues to be the foundation of this fruitful partnership between the two countries. Azerbaijan’s role as a reliable gas supplier to Europe is increasing year after year. The Southern Gas Corridor project is of particular importance in this regard. The cornerstone of the SGC is the Shah Deniz gas field located in the Caspian Sea off the coast of Azerbaijan.

The final leg of the project is the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which begins at the Turkish-Greek border, crosses Greece and Albania, and reaches its endpoint in Italy.

Currently, Azerbaijan is in the process of negotiations with Albania to build a local gas distribution system. As President Ilham Aliyev mentioned yesterday, by the end of the year, the feasibility study for this project will be ready.

“And after that, I hope we will start immediately the investment that will be purely Azerbaijani investments in Albania to build a gas distribution network. And also we discussed how we can extend our infrastructure from Albania to the neighboring countries,” President Ilham Aliyev said.

Albania, in turn, plans to establish a connection between the Vlora TPP and TAP gas pipeline, and the LNG terminal. This initiative aims to enhance both the energy security of Albania and the broader region. Thus, if the project proves to be successful, some 200 million cubic meters of gas will be transported to Albania via TAP from 2026.

Providing a direct link between the Caspian region and European markets, contributing to the continent’s energy mix and reducing dependence on a single supplier, TAP has become an engine that support Europe’s energy supplies diversification strategy.

As President of Albania pointed out while delivering his press statement, TAP is already a consolidated success story.

“Albania’s benefits from the TAP have been numerous from both economic point of view but also in terms of strengthening the Albanian strategic weight as a gateway and the regional hub for the energy. The Ionian Adriatic Gas Pipeline will contribute even more to Albanians role as a gas distributor in the region,” President Begaj said.

President Ilham Aliyev’s forward-thinking and all-encompassing policy has fostered a strengthened level of cooperation between Azerbaijan and its European counterparts. Today, it is hard to imagine the European energy system without supplies from Azerbaijan. And with the support of not just Albania and many other countries, but also the EU as a whole, Azerbaijan continues to build its capacities, while attracting more and more partners. Azerbaijan is emerging as a pivotal component in the evolving global architecture. However, this achievement is not merely a stroke of luck, rather, it is the result of unwavering conviction and persistent efforts undertaken over many years.

This report originally appeared in Trend News on July 8, 2023.