Georgia Seeks Alternative Gas Supply from Iran

Civil Georgia, Georgia
July 27 2004

Georgia Seeks Alternative Gas Supply from Iran
/ Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2004-07-27 13:42:16

Georgian officials say Tbilisi considers Iran as an alternative gas
supplier for Georgia, which currently depends only the Russian giants
GazProm and Itera for its gas supply.

Officials say that the project is a long-term one and may be launched
as early as next year. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili
discussed this issue during his visit to Iran in early July.

`Iranian gas can serve as an alternative source of gas supply for
Georgia only in cases of emergency situations and in the case that
Russia reduces or stops the gas supply[to Georgia]. It can not be a
permanent supplier for us, as Iranian gas is more expensive,’ Teona
Doliashvili, a spokesperson for the Georgian Energy Ministry, told
Civil Georgia.

There are two potential delivery routes of gas from Iran into Georgia
– one via Azerbaijan and another through Armenia.

In Soviet times Georgia received gas from Iran via Azerbaijan;
however the Azerbaijani pipeline needs rehabilitation, which,
according to the Georgian Energy Ministry, would cost around USD 2

Representatives from SakGazi, the gas distribution company in
Georgia, say that the joining of the Georgian gas system to the
Iranian-Armenian gas pipeline may prove cheaper.

`These considerations over a gas supply from Iran were launched some
three years ago, but discussions yielded no results, mainly because
of the lack of finances to rehabilitate the pipe. I think the
Armenian option will be cheaper,’ Maka Arakhamia, a spokesperson for
the SakGazi company, told Civil Georgia.

This issue was discussed during the Georgian Foreign Minister Salome
Zourabichvili’s vist to Armenia last week. Zourabichvili said that
Georgia is interested in gas being delivered from Iran.

According to the Georgian Energy Ministry, Iran is also interested in
Georgia as a transit country to export its gas to Europe.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress