Georgian energy minister: Gazprom can supply Iranian gas to Armenia

Even today Gazprom supplies natural gas to Armenia but not as much as Armenia needs, although the pipeline from Iran has the capacity to carry an extra one billion cubic meters of natural gas.

Even today Gazprom supplies natural gas to Armenia but not as much as Armenia needs, although the pipeline from Iran has the capacity to carry an extra one billion cubic meters of natural gas.

Valery Sharifulin/TASS
Kakha Kaladze said Russia has the capacity to supply natural gas to Armenia

Georgia's Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze has said that Russia has the capacity to supply natural gas to Armenia from Iran despite this costing it more than via Georgia.

"It is not ruled out that in this particular instance a 'political decision' could be taken," he told reporters on Jan. 22.

Even today Gazprom supplies natural gas to Armenia but not as much as Armenia needs, although the pipeline from Iran has the capacity to carry an extra one billion cubic meters of natural gas.

"After making some investment, it [Russia] has the real chance to fully satisfy the Armenian market with natural gas supplied from Iran, which for us [Georgia] will be very bad, of course," Kaladze said.

One should also bear in mind that Georgia is, to an extent, dependent on Russia for electricity supplies as well, he said. "Especially in the winter period, when the demand for it is the highest, and in comparison with the other countries in the region, Russia offers the best electricity prices," Kaladze said.

Speaking of his talks with Gazprom representatives in Vienna two days ago, the Georgian energy minister said that Russia has so far stuck to its position, demanding a switch to payments with money for the Russian gas transit to Armenia instead of the 10 percent Georgia currently receives from the total sum under the current agreement.

Talks between the Georgian Energy Ministry and Gazprom are held under a 2003 agreement that is renewed on an annual basis. The 2015 agreement has already expired but the new one has not yet been reached. The Vienna meeting was the parties' fifth since last fall. The previous four were held in Brussels in September, Milan in October, Luxembourg in early December, and in Zurich in late December.

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