Parliament Speaker Promises Committee for Gas Deal Inquiry

Speaker of the Armenian National Assembly Hovik Abrahamian

YEREVAN (Arka)—Speaker of the Armenian National Assembly Hovik Abrahamian promised Thursday that an ad hoc parliamentary commission would be set up to conduct an inquiry into the recently signed Armenian-Russian gas agreement, whereby the government of Armenia ceded its remaining 20 percent stake in the national gas distribution company to Russia’s Gazprom.

“I agree that we need to discuss all the issues related to this agreement. We will set up an ad hoc commission very soon to look into it,” Abrahamian said on Thursday.

A proposal by opposition parties to set up such a commission was rejected by the parliamentary majority earlier this week.

This and some other energy agreements were first signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Dec. 2 visit to Yerevan.

Earlier, energy and natural resources minister Armen Movsisyan said the Armenian government sold its minority share in the gas distribution company to pay off half of a $300 million debt to Gazprom, which was incurred as a result of subsidizing the price of Russian gas from 2011 to 2013. The other half of the debt was said to have been written off by the Russian company. Gazprom was also granted 30 years exclusive rights in the Armenian energy market.

Armenia does not have natural gas or oil reserves and its energy sector depends almost entirely on imported fuel. In 2013 Gazprom delivered 1.96 billion cubic meters of gas to Armenia.

Under another Armenian-Russian contract, the Russian monopoly will be delivering 2.5 billion cubic meters of gas to Armenia across Georgia until 2018.

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