YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Iran’s national gas company announced Monday that Georgia has held negotiations with Iran on possible imports of Iranian natural gas through neighboring Armenia.
“Based on negotiations with Georgia, we are supposed to transport gas to the Armenian border so that Georgia receives it at its border with Armenia,” said Head of National Iranian Gas Exporting Company, Ali-reza Kameli.
Kameli did not specify whether Tehran, Tbilisi and Yerevan have already reached an agreement and, if so, when the Iranian gas supplies will start. He said only that the gas deal must be “economical” for Georgia in order to go through.
Armenia imports up to 500 million cubic meters of Iranian gas annually through a pipeline that was inaugurated in 2008. The pipeline’s maximum capacity is estimated at 2 billion cubic meters per year.
Georgia has purchased the bulk of its gas from Azerbaijan for the past decade. Its government announced in October that it is considering buying gas also from Russia or Iran. Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze said Georgia could soon import Iranian gas via Armenia or Azerbaijan.
Last month, Kaladze held talks in Luxemburg with Alexei Miller, the head of Russia’s Gazprom monopoly. Miller said afterwards that Gazprom is ready to supply large volumes of gas to Georgia through a complex arrangement that would also involve Armenia and Iran.
Later in December, Kaladze met in Yerevan with his Armenian and Iranian counterparts as well as the chief executive of a leading Russian electric utility to explore the possibility of significantly boosting power supplies among their countries. Armenia’s Yervand Zakharian said after the meeting that gas supplies to Georgia were not on the agenda.