Moscow gave OK to construction of Iran-Armenia gas pipeline


PanArmenian News, Armenia
May 20 2004

“Gasprom” seemingly has submitted the fact that it will have to cede
a part of the Armenian market to Iranians.

The working visit of Robert Kocharian to Moscow is considered
productive both in Yerevan and Moscow. One of the main subjects
discussed during the visit was the energy cooperation. It is
interesting that the visit of Kocharian to Moscow coincided with
signing of an agreement on construction of Iran-Armenia gas pipeline
in Yerevan. Hardly this happened by a pure accident.

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The subject was discussed at the meetings of Robert
Kocharyan with Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov,
President of the Gasprom Boris Miller, Head of the ITERA Victor
Makarov, President of the RAO EES Anatoly Chubays, Director of
the “Prometey” Company Senik Gevorkyan. Moscow’s opinion about the
project of Iran-Armenia gas pipeline construction can be judged from
the position of the Gasprom which was the first interested side as
it is the monopolist deliverer of the gas to the Southern Caucasus.
Boris Miller assured the journalists that they were not concerned
with the agreement.

General Director of the ArmRosGasprom Company Karen Karapetyan also
confirmed that the Iranians will not force out the Russians from the
Armenian market. He said that the main part of the Iranian gas will
be processed to electricity o be delivered again to Iran.

Evidently, the President’s visit has really solved the misunderstanding
concerning the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline. It is known that all the
exporters solve the disputable problems usually by starting talks about
increasing the tariffs. It is evident that is Moscow was dissatisfied
with the deal Boris Miller would not assure that it was not going to
change the tariffs. Besides, the Russian government would not sanction
the participation of the Russian company in the tender for laying the
pipeline. The fact of participation of the Russians in the tender
is confirmed by official sources. Probably it will be the Prometey
Company. The company constructs gas pipeline all over the Europe. Its
experience and technical resources allow it to receive the order.

For Russia Iran has always been a competitor in the European gas
market. However, Moscow has been convinced that the talks about the
possibility of the continuation of the gas pipeline through Georgia
by the Black Sea to Ukraine have no real basis. However, Armenia
should not forget about the possibility to become a transit country.
Two years ago the Russian Voce-Premier Victor Khristenko said that
though Iran is a competitor, “mutual concessions should be made”. It
is not excluded that soon the parties will have to discuss those
“mutual concessions”…