German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to visit Azerbaijan in the hopes of boosting supplies of Caspian gas to Europe following increased pressure from the US over the Nord Stream 2 project that will supply the continent with Russian gas.
One senior official said there is interest to develop the “southern gas corridor” that would connect Azerbaijan to Europe through Turkey with hopes to expand it to gain access to gas reserves in Turkmenistan, Iran and Iraq as the EU look to diversify away from Russian imports.
The move comes after increasing criticism of the Nord Stream 2 project that would increase reliance on Russia for energy sources.
Last month, US President Donald Trump announced that the US will compete with Russia to supply gas to the European gas market, after he eased his stance on Nord Stream 2 following the recent Helsinki summit where Trump and his Russian counterpart held one on one discussions.
Merkel will visit Baku as part of Germany’s plans to construct a $40 billion, 3,500km pipeline that will bring gas from Azerbaijan’s extensive Shah Deniz 2 field to the EU in what will be one of the largest infrastructure projects across the world’s oil and gas industry.