“Europe is and should remain an etalon market for Azerbaijani gas,” Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov said in his interview with Il Sole 24 Ore publication in Italy.

“Markets do offer excess volumes of gas. However, if the matter is about natural gas, not LNG, I prefer to approach the issue from a different viewpoint. First, it is necessary to find buyers in this sector, sign long-term agreements and make investments in fields and then produce and export the gas sold. This market is not as spot as the LNG or crude oil markets. We follow this strategy to sign contracts, and we’ll keep to it in the future. If there are no new buyers, we’ll not produce additional gas despite our reserves. Production targets depend on demand.”

Answering the question of whether or not Azerbaijan is a rival to Russia in gas transportation to Europe, Shahbazov said he does not see any competition with Russia:

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“First, we have already sold the planned volumes of natural gas. A bigger part of Azerbaijani gas will be delivered to the south of Italy, the place that does not import Russian gas. Russia transports more than 180 bcm of gas to Europe each year. Our gas exports will be ten times as low. There is no competition here.”

The minister also said that Azerbaijan and Russia have contracts signed in the energy sphere.