GAZPROM SEEKS TO CONTROL IRANIAN-ARMENIAN GAS PIPELINE
By Andrea R. Mihailescu – UPI Energy Correspondent
United Press International
Oct 24 2006
Russia has tightened control over Armenia’s power distribution network
after a subsidiary of Russia’s state-controlled Unified Energy Systems
purchased $73 million of the Electricity Networks of Armenia, on
It remains unclear why it took so long and the deal was formalized
one year after Yerevan approved Russia’s decision to buy ENA from
Midland Resources Holding, a British-registered firm that privatized
the once loss-making network in 2002.
Armenian media reports suggested UES, which is expanding its operations
throughout the region, was re-examining ENA’s books and discovered
serious financial irregularities.
But the Armenian firm is desperately in need of capital and the
Russian energy giant said it will invest $20 million in ENA over the
next 12 months.
Critics are concerned the deal will further increase Armenia’s
dependence on Russia. Gazprom controls Armenia’s largest thermal
power plant and is the country’s only supplier of natural gas.
Russian gas is used for generating nearly 40 percent of Armenia’s
electricity. ENA also saw its Russian gas prices double when Gazprom
decided to increase the price of its gas for all three South Caucasus
Gazprom also initially confirmed, but later denied reports that it
will acquire ownership of an incomplete Armenian pipeline, which
is slated to start pumping gas from Iran early next year. Armenia
remains concerned over these reports.
According to Armenian media reports, Moscow also reportedly wants to
ensure that the pipeline diameter is not large enough to allow Iran
to re-export its gas to Georgia or Eastern Europe. Tehran and Yerevan
are considering building a second pipeline to deliver Iranian gas to
"Naturally, when Iranian gas starts flowing into Armenia, perhaps it
will be exported to other countries as well," Gholamali Haddad-Adel,
the speaker of Iran’s parliament, told reporters during a recent
visit to Armenia.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress