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Azerbaijan eager to supply more gas to Europe in Russia's stead

Deal to double exports offers much-needed relief to South Europe and Balkans

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, right, shakes hands with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during a meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, on July 18. (Official website of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan/Handout via Reuters) 

ISTANBUL -- The European Union on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding with Azerbaijan, aiming to double gas imports from the energy-rich South Caucasus country as the 27-member bloc seeks to reduce dependence on Russia.

While the newly agreed upon 20 billion cu. meters of gas a year pales in comparison to the 155 bcm the EU imported from Russia last year, the memorandum is likely to lead to investment in pipelines and gas development that could make Azerbaijan a key European energy source.

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