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The News in Brief

Thursday, February 4
Georgia, a low-middle-income country, could become a net exporter of gas rather than a net importer - Atlantic Council

For Europe and the USA, Georgia, in terms of potential alternative sources of gas, has to become one of the top-priority countries.

This is a topic discussed in a report prepared for the Atlantic Council entitled ‘Developing a Western Energy Strategy for the Black Sea Region and Beyond’.

The author of the report, Ariel Cohen, thinks that Georgia has the potential to reduce its dependence on Russian energy resources.

‘Several countries that currently rely on Russian supplies, or serve as major transit corridors for Russian and Caspian gas, actually have ample hydrocarbon reserves. They can become independent or nearly independent as far as their natural gas supply is concerned. For example, Georgia has emerged as a potentially important hydrocarbon source for Europe,’ the head of the Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitical centre of USA, Ariel Cohen, says.

As noted in the report, on October 8, 2015, the Frontera Resources company announced its discovery of massive resources of gas in eastern Georgia. The company estimates natural gas resources to be 3.8 trillion cubic meters.

’Provided the size of this large-scale discovery is confirmed independently, and geopolitical challenges are handled successfully, this means that Georgia, a low-middle-income country, could become a net exporter of gas rather than a net importer. The southern Kakheti discovery can supply Turkey, Romania, Ukraine and the European markets farther west. As these gas resources are brought to market, Georgia could export gas via a small-scale LNG terminal located on the Georgian Black Sea coast, or via the Main Export Pipeline to Turkey and TANAP.’

According to the report, approximately two million barrels of oil equivalent per day are transited through Georgia into Turkey and Europe. In the future, the windfall profits for Georgia from energy exports could transform this low-middle-income country into a high-middle-income state, and provide the financial base for both the industrial development and an improved social safety net.

‘With Georgia’s role as an increasingly important east/west transit hub for oil and gas, becoming a significant producer and exporter would give the country more regional relevance. Given this, Georgia now has the opportunity to increase its importance to NATO and European energy security with its strategic location bordering the organization’s easternmost member, Turkey, as well as Russia,’ Cohen notes.

‘What Georgia needs today is supportive leadership, transparency, good governance and the rule of law – without these, foreign investments will remain severely constrained.

‘Its strategic location and reserves, together with considerable hydropower potential and the proximity of the energy-hungry Turkish market, could make Georgia a promising energy supplier to the whole of the Black Sea region and beyond.’ (IPN)

US funding supports professional development of Georgian teachers

About 20,000 teachers and all school principals in Georgia will soon be able to better manage educational process using funds from the United States (US) government.

The US government will invest $14 million USD (about 35 million GEL) to train and support the professional development of public school teachers across Georgia.

The professional training initiative will involve all public school principals and 20 000 science, maths, information technology and English teachers of Grades 7-12. Additionally, 2,000 facilitators will be prepared to offer their assistance to other teachers in each public school across the country.

The aim of the project was to ensure the sustainable professional development of Georgian teachers, which will contribute to better educational processes at the country’s public schools.

The project was launched in January 2016 and will last until the summer of 2019. It was administrated by Georgia’s National Centre for Teacher Professional Development and the Millennium Challenge Account-Georgia (MCA – Georgia).

The teacher training project was a component of the US foreign aid agency Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) $140 million (about 335 million GEL) second compact for Georgia.

The MCC, established in 2004, has approved over $10 billion in Compact and threshold programs worldwide that support country-determined projects in a range of sectors including agriculture and irrigation, healthcare, water supply and irrigation, finance and enterprise development, anti-corruption initiatives and access to education. (