ArmInfo. The talks between the Georgian Energy Ministry and Gazprom regarding the Russian gas transit to Armenia are still underway and it is early to speak of the results, the press office of Gazprom Armenia CJSC has told ArmInfo. To note, the third round of the talks on payment for the Russian gas transit to Armenia will take place in Minsk on Jan 10.
"The Georgian side and Russian Gazprom have not yet reached final agreement on the Russian gas transit to Armenia via Georgia and the talks will be continued," Gazprom Armenia Spokesperson Shushan Sardaryan says, when commenting on Georgia's information about the negative results of the meeting between Gazprom Export and Georgian Gas Transportation Company.
Sardaryan also stresses the need to abstain from early assessments about the fact that in case of the negative outcome of the talks the tariff of the Russian gas supplied to Armenian consumers will be revised.
To recall, when initiating reduction of the tariff of gas supplied to Armenia, the Russian company took into account the prospect of signing of a new contract between the natural gas supplier to Armenia Gazprom Export LLC and Georgian Gas Transportation Company. Sardaryan thinks it is necessary to wait for the outcome of the negotiations. The Russian gas transit to Armenia via Georgia has long been discussed by Moscow and Tbilisi. However, the sides cannot agree on the terms. So far Georgia has been receiving 10% of the total amount of Russian gas supplied to Armenia as a payment for the transit, and now Russia insists on monetizing the payment, which is not convenient to Georgia. The term of the latest annual contract expired on 31 December 2016.
The second pipeline, which runs via Iran, will not be able to supply the necessary gas volumes to Armenia. In addition, the Iranian gas will be more expensive for Gazprom.
It is noteworthy that yesterday Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan held the first working meeting this year with the ambassadors of Iran and Turkmenistan, and discussed energy cooperation with them.
Though the Spokesperson for Gazprom Armenia, who is also an advisor to the Prime Minister of Armenia, points out the need to consider the meeting in the format of increasing commodity turnover among Armenia, Iran and Turkmenistan, and the prospects of promotion of trilateral cooperation in power engineering, nevertheless, the Armenian Government is obviously trying to minimize the risks related to possible "undesirable" results of the current talks.
ArmInfo analysts think that the meeting might have covered the possibility of swap deliveries of the Turkmen gas to Armenia via Iran. The matter concerns supplies of Turkmen gas to Iran, which, in turn, will import similar volumes of gas to Armenia. To note, starting from January 1 Armenia has been receiving off-the-books gas from Russia on the previous terms. The gas is supplied to Armenia in accordance with the 2 Dec 2013 intergovernmental agreement. According to the indicative balance between the sides, Russia supplies about 2-2.5 bln cu m of duty-free gas. Gazprom Armenia CJSC (100% subsidiary of Russian Gazprom) supplies the natural gas to the domestic market of Armenia.