Top European Union officials, including European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, are due to open a visit to Azerbaijan today as part of efforts to secure natural gas supplies for EU states.
The EU has been pursuing the development of a southern energy corridor across Turkey -- in particular a pipeline project dubbed Nabucco. The corridor is envisioned transporting gas, including from Azerbaijan's huge Shah Deniz II field, to the west, bypassing Russia.
Reports say Azerbaijani authorities may decide within months on awarding contracts in connection with the reserves of Shah Deniz.
After Azerbaijan, the EU leaders are due to travel on to Turkmenistan for similar talks on the willingness of Turkmen leaders to provide gas to Europe.