US against sale of Georgian gas pipelines to Gazprom

Agency WPS
The Russian Oil and Gas Report (Russia)
October 22, 2004, Friday


The US is against the sale of the trunk gas pipeline of Georgia to
Gazprom, which has been demonstrating its interest in privatization
in the country, says energy envoy of the US Department of State to
the Caspian region Stephen Mann.

In 2003, Gazprom signed a framework agreement with the former
Georgian government headed by President Eduard Shevardnadze on close
cooperation and gas supplies to the country. Soon after that Gazprom
managed to oust the international group of companies ITERA, that was
at that time the monopoly gas supplier to Georgia, from the Georgian
market. Several times Gazprom offered the government of Georgia to
sell the trunk gas pipeline through which gas was delivered from
Russia to Georgia and Armenia. Georgian economic experts say that
Gazprom is prepared to pay a few hundreds of millions of dollars to
acquire control over the object strategic for Georgia.

In a few years Georgia plans to receive gas via the pipeline from
Azerbaijan to the Turkish Erzurum and to become less dependent on the
gas supplies from Russia, political relations with which have grown
worse lately. Mann states, “If the trunk gas pipelines are sold to
Gazprom the possibility of gas purchase from Azerbaijan will be lost.
Naturally, Gazprom will try to sell its gas.” Mann believes that if
Georgia sells the gas pipelines to Gazprom it will lose energy
security. Mann concludes, “I call on everyone to look at the
agreement between Gazprom and Georgia. For Georgia it was

Source: Vremya Novostey, October 21, 2004

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress