According to Kakha Kaladze, the Energy Minister of Georgia, Georgia has opposed Gazprom’s ultimatum to pay Georgia for the transited gas in money rather than gas, in the event that the Georgian side allows Russia to import Iranian Gas to Armenia via Georgia. The minister made these statements on the Archevani TV show on January 19.
Energy Minister: Gazprom presented ultimatum to Georgia
By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, January 21
Kaladze explained that although it is not profitable for Georgia to receive money for the gas transit instead of the gas itself, the Russian side is insisting on a move to financial payment. Otherwise, it will supply Armenia directly from Iran.
"You know that today 10 % of the conveyed volume of gas is given to Georgia. However, Gazprom has presented an ultimatum to move towards a financial payment. We categorically objected to this, although they directly indicated that they can import gas to Armenia directly from Iran. Such a danger really exists and its consequences will be very severe for us,” said Kaladze.
According to the minister, this issue was also discussed in the ministry and they assessed that the Russian side really has such the technical opportunity to import gas to Armenia without passing through Georgia.
“I think Russia has other tools as well as Gazprom to exert pressure on Georgia; we’ve been importing electricity from Russia for years, as it has thebest prices compared to other countries in the region,” said Kaladze and noted that he is not going to destroy the good energy relationship with Russia built by his predecessors.
Moreover, Kaladze said he will meet the chief executive of Gazprom’s export arm, Elena Burmistrova, in Vienna on January 20 and discuss the details of the deal.
“We will try to get a result, which will be acceptable for our country and the energy sector,” Kaladze said, adding that the public will be informed about the details after the negotiations are over.
According to Kaladze, who met three times with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller since September, Russia’s share in Georgia’s annual gas supplies may increase from the current 11% to about 20% if Georgia starts importing additional volumes of gas from Gazprom.
However, the minister noted that Georgia has the possibility not to be solely dependent on one source of energy, and it is not wholly dependent on Gazprom or on Socar, the Azerbaijani gas provider.
“We have a third option too, namely the natural gas received from the Shah Deniz consortium, nearly 800 million cubic meters of gas. This is our own gas and I think in this situation, Georgia is in a priority situation,” claimed Kaladze.