Russian Gas Supplies To Armenia Suspended

By Astghik Bedevian

Radio Liberty, Czech Rep.
Aug 20 2007

Russia has cut off supplies of natural gas to Armenia and Georgia
and will not resume them before Sunday due to repairs on a pipeline
feeding the two South Caucasus states, the Armenian national gas
distributor said on Monday.

A spokeswoman for the ArmRosGazprom (ARG) operator gave few details
of those repairs, saying only that they were not forced by an accident
and had been planned in advance. Shushan Sardarian the vital deliveries
will be restored within six days.

"ArmRosGazprom is officially stating that unfettered supplies to gas
consumers will, in the meantime, be ensured at the expense of our
[underground] gas storage facility near Abovian," she told RFE/RL.

Russia’s Gazprom gas monopoly, which owns about 60 percent of ARG, did
not immediately comment on the situation. There was also no official
confirmation of the supply cutoff by the Georgian government as of
Monday evening. Both Georgia and Armenia are heavily dependent on
Russian gas.

Meanwhile, many parts of Yerevan were already left without gas on
Monday. Sardarian attributed that to the ongoing expansion of the
ARG network in and outside the Armenian capital.

"We issued a statement last week warning that some neighborhoods,
including those in the city center, will have no gas for three days
because of work done within the gas distribution system," she said.

"This work had been planned beforehand. It has nothing to do with
the suspension of gas supplies to the republic."