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Azerbaijani says no long-term gas contract for Georgia

By M. Alkhazashvili
Translated by Davit Kipiani
Monday, June 16
Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natik Aliev has said that Azerbaijan will opt for short-term natural gas agreements with Georgia instead of a long-term contract.

“It is not profitable for Azerbaijan, as a gas reserves owner, to make forecasts for five and ten years. Short-term agreements work well and are effective for [energy suppliers],” the news agency Today.Az quoted Aliyev as saying.

Georgia hopes to increase its natural gas import from Azerbaijan, in order to decrease its reliance on Russia as an energy supplier.

In 2007 Georgia paid USD 120 per 1000 cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas, much less than the Russian price of USD 235 per 1000 cubic meters.

However late last year Baku announced it would increase the price Georgia pays for Azerbaijani gas. Talks over Georgia’s gas import amount and how much it pays have been underway this year.

Last week Economic Development Minister Eka Sharashidze made assurances that import of Azerbaijani gas was “guaranteed and stable,” after it emerged Russia’s Gazprom is hoping to sign a long-term contract with Azerbaijan to purchase its gas.