The ministers of Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Azerbaijan counterpart to boost natural gas supply from Azerbaijan to the EU.

The MoU has been signed to encourage co-operation among the relevant gas transmission system operators including Bulgartransgaz (Bulgaria), Transgaz (Romania), FGSZ (Hungary), Eustream (Slovakia), and the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) to ensure diversification of supply routes from Azerbaijan to EU.

It supports the solidarity ring, a joint initiative of Bulgartransgaz, Transgaz, FGSZ, and Eustream.

In July 2022, European Commission signed a “memorandum of understanding on a strategic partnership in the field of energy” with Azerbaijan to double gas supply from the latter to the European Union market by 2027.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev said the MoU, when implemented, will definitely strengthen Europe’s energy security and allow Azerbaijan to export more gas to many European countries.

Aliyev said: “Also, I would like to inform you that with nine EU member states, Azerbaijan signed and adopted agreements or declarations on strategic partnership.

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“So that means that one-third of the member states of the EU are strategic partners of Azerbaijan, and this partnership has a very important future.”

The European Union has been looking to diversify energy sources away from Russian gas in the wake of Moscow’s military war against Ukraine.

Bulgartransgaz executive director Vladimir Malinov said: “The signing of the memorandum today confirms the feasibility of the initiative and will facilitate to immediately ensure additional natural gas quantities for Europe from Azerbaijan via a secure route.”