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
Sept. 26.

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
third countries.

"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

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS