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Georgia signs natural gas deal with Azerbaijan

By M. Alkhazashvili
(Translated by Diana Dundua)
Tuesday, May 13
Government officials have signed a contract with Azerbaijan that will see Georgia import 1 million cubic meters of natural gas per day, a representative of Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR has announced.

However, on May 6 SOCAR president Rovnag Abdullayev said that at the request of Georgian officials the price would not be disclosed, according to the newspaper 24 Saati.

He also confirmed it would be higher than in 2007 but denied Russian media reports that it would be as high as USD 261 per cubic meter.

Russian news agency Regnum reported that the new contract will see Georgia receive a total of 250 million cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas in 2008, at a cost of USD 261 per cubic meter.

In 2007 Georgia imported 1.3 million cubic meters of natural gas per day from Azerbaijan at a cost of USD 120 per cubic meter. Last fall SOCAR officials announced that Georgia would have to pay more for Azerbaijani natural gas in future contracts.

Meanwhile the Azerbaijani news media criticized the decision to keep the exact price under wraps.

“Georgian officials decided to keep the price secret even after signing the contract and Azerbaijani officials agreed, but SOCAR is a state-owned company and every citizen has the right to know how much the country’s main treasure costs,” Azerbaijani newspaper Zerkalo commented, according to 24 Saati.

Georgia already receives one million cubic meters of natural gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field each day.