Armenia Russia Set Up Joint Gas Company

YEREVAN (Itar-Tass)–The establishment of the Armrosgazprom company should be regarded in the context of the general understanding of strategic tasks and as a link in the common strategy of Armenian-Russian cooperation–said Levon Ter-Petrosyan–addressing an assembly gathered for the establishment of the Armenian-Russian gas joint stock company.

The power industry is among the most important sectors for Armenia–and the establishment of such a company will enable the republic to accomplish several strategic tasks.

He pointed to great assistance rendered to Armenia and by the leadership of the Russian Federation–including President Boris Yeltsin and Cabinet head Viktor Chernomyrdin.

The formation of a new company shows that the Armenian-Russian treaty of friendship–cooperation and mutual assistance–signed in Moscow last August–is already in operation–although it was not ratified.

Armenia and Russia are allies and strategic partners. Ter-Petrosyan noted that the company has a bright future and expressed hope that its operations will overstep the borders of Armenia and will cover the entire region.

Prime Minister Robert Kocharian noted that the main aim of setting up the company is joint operation on domestic and regional energy markets.

Armrosgazprom is also called upon to settle several tasks on designing– financing–building and operating new gas pipelines and gas storage as well as on expanding and reconstructing operating gas systems.

Starting from the next year–the company will be engaged in deliveries and sales of Russian gas as well as repair–construction and other types of work in Armenia.

According to the Armenian Energy Minister Gagik Martirosyan–out of $271 million of the company’s authorized capital–the first $5 million were already deposited at the Armstroibank.

Board chairman of the Russian mammoth Gazprom company Rem Vyakhirev added that the new venture will not need big capital investmen’s. Armenia had for long a ramified gas supply system. It should only be repaired.

If Armenia’strikes its own gas deposits–it would be reasonable for the new company to help in developing these deposits.

Vyakhirev emphasized that a very tough competitive struggle is underway in the region between Iranian–Turkmen and Russian gas and oil companies. Much will depend on which of them the potential customer will prefer.

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