BAKU: Georgia to Buy Iranian Gas


Azer Tag
[July 15, 2004, 16:22:28]

Georgia has arranged to start importing natural gas from Iran as early
as January-February next year in a bid to guarantee its energy
security and to avoid force majeure, Niki Gilauri, the Georgian energy
minister, referring to ITAR-TASS, AzerTAj reported.

The agreement was reached during Georgian President Mikheil
Saakashvili’s visit to Iran last week, Mr. Gilauri said.

Georgia currently receives gas produced in Turkmenistan via Russia
under contracts with Russian gas monopoly Gazprom and the Itera energy

Above all, Georgia is worried about accidents occurring along the gas
pipeline that links Georgia with Russia. Gilauri said the
infrastructure to import gas from Iran existed but needed to be
rehabilitated. The pipeline runs across Azerbaijan and used to supply
Georgia with gas in Soviet times. Georgian experts think it would only
take four months at the most to renovate the line at a cost of
approximately $1.8 million.

Gilauri said Iranian gas was of high quality and cost more than
Russian gas. “But from the point of view of diversification it is
very important to find an alternative supplier of this fuel to
Georgia,” he said.

An agreement was also reached to supply Georgian mineral water to
Iran, so Georgia might be able to barter this for gas, Gilauri said.

Georgia received 1.009 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas in 2003 – 257
million cu m of it from under contracts with Gazprom’s export arm
Gazexport and 752 million cu m under contracts with Itera.

In other development, Georgian Daily ‘Akhalgazrda Ivereli’ in its
Tuesday edition quoted Niki Gilauri as saying that the country is
interested in purchasing electricity from Iran. “We have the
opportunity to buy electricity from three countries,” Gilauri said
adding, “presently, we are purchasing electricity from Russia and

He allude to Iran as the third country which is in a position to sell
electricity to Tbilisi.

Iran has rendered a good proposal for exports of 100 megawatts of
electricity to Georgia, he added.

“If Iran electricity’s quality and price are suitable compared to that
of the two other countries, then we will definitely be interested in a
deal,” he said.

The daily further said the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to
Tehran signed a contract between Iran and Georgia in the recent trip
for transfer of electricity from Iran to the Black Sea nation.

The volume of transactions between Iran and Georgia in 2001 stood at
dlrs 31.2 million, of which dlrs 19.5 million made up Iran’s exports
to Georgia and dlrs 11.7 million being the republic’s exports to Iran.

It reached dlrs 53.8 million in 2003, as Iran’s exports to Georgia
stood at dlrs 38.6 million and imports from the country to Iran toped
dlrs 15.1 million.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress