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Minister says no deal reached with Gazprom

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, January 25
Georgia’s Energy Minister KakhiKaladze met representatives of the Gazprom Russian energy giant on January 20. The Minister stated that no deal has yet been reached with the company over gas-related issues.

In particular, Kaladze says that Gazprom would prefer to pay a transit fee instead of giving Georgia 10% of gas transported to Armenia via Georgia.

As it was reported, the negotiations also concerned the possible purchase of additional gas from Gazprom, which will be required to fill the deficit amid increasing gas consumption in Georgia.

As the Georgian Minister stated earlier, the country requires additional gas supplies, especially in the winter period.Kaladze – a former professional football player – claimed that Azerbaijan, Georgia’s major gas provider, was currently unable to transit.

“Talks continue, we have not yet reached an agreement… I think we will probably conclude talks in the near future,” Kaladze said.

Meanwhile, the opposition and the civil sector are against both the increase of Georgia’s dependence on Russian gas and taking money instead of gas.

They claim that Russia would try to pay less and offer unbeneficial deals to the Georgian side.

Commenting on the topic, Kaladze said that the Russians “raised an ultimatum over the issue,” and if Georgia refused to take money then Russia would simply find alternative routes to transit gas to its strategic partner Armenia.

“Georgia will never be able to replace Azerbaijani gas with a Russian supply,” the head of the Oil ResearchCenter of Azerbaijan, IlhamShaban, has said.

“Georgia receives more than 87% of its gas from Azerbaijan. Naturally, a decrease in the volume of gas is not profitable for Georgia as we provide Georgians with gas for reasonable prices. If the price was not reasonable for Georgia, it would try to replace it with Russian gas,” the expert says.

He has also remarked that Azerbaijan really has no additional gas in order to satisfy Georgia’s increasing needs.

SOCAR exported 1.25 billion cubic meters of gas to Georgia in January-November 2015.

SOCAR delivers its own gas to Georgia via a pipeline that runs through Azerbaijan’s Gazakh district. The gas pumping capacity via this pipeline nears three billion cubic meters per year.

Azerbaijan is the main gas supplier to Georgia with a share of 77.9 percent of the total volume of gas imports of the country, Azerbaijani’s has reported.

About 686 million cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas came as part of the agreement in the frames of the BP-operated South Caucasus Pipeline, which transports gas from the Shah Deniz offshore field in the Caspian Sea to Turkey via Georgia. A total of 1.21 billion cubic meters were imported as part of a separate deal with Azerbaijan.

Georgia received 267.7 million cubic meters of gas from Russia in 2014, of which 206.1 million was dubbed a transit fee. As a fee, Georgia gets 10% of Russia’s gas transited to Armenia through the North-South Pipeline. Georgia also imported 61.6 million cubic meters of Russian gas in 2014.