YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Armenia is ready to begin exporting domestically produced electricity to Turkey and negotiations to secure access to Turkish markets are ongoing, Energy Minister, Armen Movsisian said on Tuesday.
“We are ready to work with the energy system of Turkey. The Turkish energy system is a potential market for us. Therefore, we are interested in the opening of the border,” he noted,” Movsisian told a press conference.
Under an agreement signed between Armenia’s Energy Ministry, the Armenian Electricity Networks CJSC and the Turkish UNIT Company in September, Armenia was to begin selling energy to Turkey in April of 2009. It was to start by supplying 1.5 billion kilowatt per hour of electricity a year, eventually increasing the annual volume of supplies to 3.5 KW/h.
Exports, however, have yet to begin. Movsisian said the delay was not caused by any economic reason. “The negotiations still continue,” he added.
Movsisian also spoke to speculation about a possibly fee hike for Russian natural gas, said to take effect early next year. He said the Armenian government would likely prevent a further surge in the basic utility prices in 2010 despite the increased cost of natural gas imported from Russia.
Under an agreement with Russia’s Gazprom monopoly, Armenia will pay $180 per thousand cubic meters of Russian gas starting from April 2010. The gas price already rose from $110 to $154 per thousand cubic meters last April, leading the ArmRosGazprom (ARG) national gas distribution company to raise its tariff for individual consumers by 14 percent.
The price hike also resulted in a 20 percent increase in the retail price of electricity supplied to households. Natural gas is used for generating roughly one third of Armenia’s electricity output.
“The Russian side has already declared the [new] gas price, and calculations and studies are underway right now to see what influence that will have on the entire energy system, including the electricity tariff,” Movsisian said.
“Of course, we will do everything to keep up the existing tariff,” he said. “That is, not to allow a rise in the electricity price. To what extent we will succeed in that is still too early to say. I think we will find ways of doing that.”
The agreement with Gazprom allowed the Russian giant to charge Armenia $200 per thousand cubic meters in 2010. However, Gazprom announced in October that it will scale back the increase because of a sharp fall in international oil prices.
Movsisian dismissed Russian press speculation that the discount is a reward for the Yerevan government’s decision to select Russian technology and contractors for the construction of a new nuclear plant in Armenia. He said the government did so only because Russian nuclear reactors are “the best in the world.”