Iran, Georgia Negotiate Over Gas Delivery through Armenia

TEHRAN – Tehran and Tbilisi are in talks to export around 200 million cubic meters of Iranian gas to Georgia through Armenia, the General Director of the National Iranian Gas Export Company (NIGEC) Alireza Kameli stated according to the Russian TASS news agency.

“Georgian public and private enterprises are interested in buying gas from Iran,” Kameli stated, “it is expected that gas supplies to Georgia will begin in the next Iranian year [March 21st].”

Georgian Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze paid a visit to Iran on Monday to discuss potential gas imports and cooperation in other areas of the energy sector. During his visit Kaladze met with his Iranian counterpart, the Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh.

“The Georgian and Iranian sides are at this stage studying the possibilities of importing Iranian gas to Georgia. Possibilities for implementation of various other investment projects in the energy sector were also discussed,” Kaladze commented.

Georgian Deputy Energy Minister Mariam Valishvili announced that buying Iranian gas at this stage is not commercially viable for Georgia as it is about 25% more expensive, she said at the public discussion on Georgia’s energy policy, hosted by the Tbilisi office of the Heinrich Boll Foundation on February 10th. At the meeting she said that it is a long-term plan and she does not see anything tangible for the short-term.

NIGEC’s General Director Kameli announced that the first contract will signed for seven months and it will serve as a basis for possible further cooperation in this field.

"Georgia is yet to receive Armenia’s permission for the transit of gas through its territory and if the economic feasibility of the transaction is confirmed, in the future the sides may ink medium- and long-term contracts,” he stated.

Currently 88% of gas used in Georgia comes from Azerbaijan and the rest from Russia. Georgia receives it as a payment for the transit of Russian gas to Armenia across Georgian territory.

To boost a relationship with Iran on February 15th Georgia officially restored 45-day visa-free rules for Iranian citizens, which were unilaterally cancelled by Tbilisi in 2013.

18 February 2016 14:29