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Georgia signs up to International Gas Agreement at Baku summit

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, September 15
A Memorandum for the Collaboration in Liquidated Natural Gas transportation was signed by the Presidents of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Romania and the Prime Minister of Hungary, during the Baku Energy Summit, on September 14. The project foresees transportation of Caspian energy resources from Azerbaijan to Europe via Georgia.

Earlier this year, the state energy companies of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Romania agreed to set up a Bucharest-based joint venture to proceed with the project. It envisages the transportation of around 7 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas through a pipeline to Georgia’s port of Poti and then onwards to the Romanian port of Constanta via the Black Sea on tankers.

Under the terms of the recently signed memorandum, a terminal in Georgia will supposedly be built in Kulevi. According to initial calculations, project expenses will reach 4-6 billion Euros.

The project forecasts the conveyance of liquid gas from Georgia to Romania. Liquid gas will be transformed into natural gas in Romania and provided to European countries.

President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, claimed it to be the project of the century, as he underlined the importance of Georgia’s participation, “Both of the sides’ participation in the project is significant, but I am especially thankful to Mikheil Saakashvili. Georgia’s involvement in the project is the guarantee of its success. This is the project of the century, which will become the main guarantee of regional collaboration and energy security,” Aliyev stated.

As the President of Georgia stated, Georgia’s role as a transit country is increasing, “This is an extremely important project, which will enable Europe to get natural gas via Azerbaijan and Georgia, bypassing Russia. The energy sector should be the important weapon and not a political lever in someone’s hands. However, we should not forget Nabucco, which is also very significant and should undertake active moves in this direction. Compared to last year, Georgia has grown its energy potential, which is a serious step forward, herewith, our countries role as the transit country is increasing,” Saakashvili stated.

The European Union should be more open to such projects, Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, stated, “It is the first time we have taken part in such a project. We know that the European Union is also interested in the project, as it is very much related to Europe. I hope that Europe will be more open to such types of projects, “the PM said.

As analyst Irakli Sesiashvili told the Messenger, “I do not want to blame any opposition party in its collaboration with the authorities. However, I have received information on the project firstly from the Christian Democratic Mayoral Candidate, Gia Chanturia, during the Tbilisi Mayoral elections. Chanturia mentioned then that the project should be financed by foreign donor organizations. The project itself is profitable for the country, but in case it is financed from the Georgian state budget and not by the foreign organizations, it would be the greatest crime, as at the present moment Georgia has no means to allocate billions from the budget. So, we should be given detailed information on the project; Who will finance it? Who will lead the project? We need to be aware of all of the details regarding the project. Only then will we be able to talk of its profitability,” Sesiashvili stated.