TBILISI (Xinhua News Agency)–Georgia has yet to decide whether it will sell to Azerbaijan a strategic gas pipeline connecting Russia and Armenia through its territory, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze said on Monday.
Kalandadze’s made his remarks against the backdrop of statements from Baku that its state run oil company, SOCAR, is ready to acquire the pipeline.
“The decision on the gas main may be taken with due regard for both states’ interests,” said Kalandadze, who described the Azerbaijani company as having implemented “quite big and successful projects in Georgia.”
SOCAR president Rovnag Abdullayev has repeatedly expressed the company’s intention to buy the Georgian section of the gas pipeline, known as the North-South gas main.
Abdullayev has said he expects the purchase to help accelerate the implementation of the Interconnector Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania (AGRI) project, which delivers liquefied Azerbaijani natural gas to Romania via Georgia and the Black Sea.
The Georgian parliament in July voted 88-to-5 on a draft law which would facilitate the privatization of state assets like the North-South gas pipeline, which was built in the 1970s and had been last repaired in the 1980s.
Russia’s Gazprom has reportedly offered $250 million and a 30-year supply contract of natural gas to Georgia at a price of $30 per 1,000 cubic meters to secure the purchase of the section inside Georgia. Nothing indicates that Tbilisi has accepted the offer.