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Energy Minister: No agreement has been reached with Gazprom

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, February 8
According to Georgia’s Vice PM and Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze, no agreement has been reached with Gazprom yet. In Kaladze’s words, the date of the next meeting with Gazprom is still unknown. He says there is no political context to the negotiations.

Kaladze spoke about the ongoing negotiations with Gazprom, Russia’s main gas provider, at the meeting with the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) on February 5. Talks with SOCAR, the Azerbaijani gas provider, were also discussed at the meeting.

‘I would like to emphasize that we have had relations with Gazprom for years. We have also had good relations in terms of buying electricity. These are the relations built by my predecessors despite many complications. I do not plan to ruin these relations,’ he said.

As a transit fee, Georgia receives 10% of Russian gas transported to Armenia via Georgia. In addition, Georgia also imported 75 million cubic meters of gas from Russia in 2015, according to the Energy Ministry.

Gazprom wants to pay cash instead of giving Georgia 10% of its gas transported to Armenia. If this is enacted, Georgia may not receive enough money to buy the same amount of gas it is now receiving as a transit fee.

As for the SOCAR company, according to Kaladze SOCAR will not be able to the increase volume of gas transported to Georgia.

Enegry Minister Kakha Kaladze held talks with the CEO of Azerbaijan’s state energy company, Rovnag Abdullayev, in Baku on February 4.

The Georgian side asked for more gas supplies from Azerbaijan, but Socar stated it is impossible at this time due to “some problems related to the transportation of gas to Georgia”.

Kaladze also talked about information released by the Frontera company, which announced its discovery of massive resources of gas in eastern Georgia. The company estimates natural gas resources to be around 3.8 trillion cubic meters.

“Information released by the Frontera company mentioned a volume of gas which even Turkmenistan does not have. There might be some reserves underground, but billions of investments are needed to prove it. If approved, then it will be decided if the gas extraction is financially viable,” Kaladze said.

The NGOs believe that the Energy Minister does not understand the “political threats” which are the part of negotiations with Gazprom.

“We underlined several times that the negotiations with Gazprom contain political threats but the minister says these negotiations are only commercial ones and there are no political risks in it. This is alarming for our national interests,” said Elene Khoshtaria, a representative of the Georgian Reforms Associates NGO.