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Ivanishvili Speaks of Need to ‘Diversify’ Gas Supplies

Thursday, October 29
Ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili said Georgia should diversify its gas supplies, including through the purchase of additional gas from Russia’s state monopoly Gazprom, as well as through imports and the transit of Iranian gas.

Georgia’s Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze met twice with the chief executive of Gazprom, Alexei Miller, over the past month – on September 25 in Brussels and then on October 26 in Milan, to discuss the extension of the contract of transit Russian gas being exported to Armenia via Georgia and the possible supply of gas to Georgia on top of what the country gets from Russia as a transit fee for transporting Gazprom gas to Armenia.

“I do not see anything bad in the fact that the [Georgian] market may possibly be diversified and businesses may be given the possibility to buy gas wherever they want,” Ivanishvili told journalists after attending an event in the frames of a project for students on self-governance issues, which he is funding.

“The whole of Europe is being supplied with the Russian gas today, and there is no crime if Georgia buys Russian gas,” he added

When asked about energy security and the reliability of Russian gas supplies while taking into account Georgia’s negative experience from a decade ago, Ivanishvili responded: “We should have the possibility to choose. We are trying, and I am active in this too, to also bring Iranian gas into Georgian territory for transit and for our own consumption as well.”

He said that Georgia is grateful to Azerbaijan and its state energy company, SOCAR, which is the largest supplier of gas to Georgia, but “there will be nothing but good” if there is more than just one company on the market. He also said that businesses should be able to choose from multiple supply sources. (