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PM: “Georgia carries out major energy projects”

By Messenger Staff
Monday, June 13
Hundreds of experts, scientists and policy makers gathered in Georgia’s capital on June 9 to attend an international conference dedicated to energy-related issues and challenges.

The conference, entitled 'International Energy Forum: Energy Security - Old and New Geopolitical Paradigm', was opened early in the morning to discuss the rapidly changing global energy environment, the pressure of globalisation and the existing trends in the energy field.

Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili addressed the participants of the event and spoke about Georgia’s energy security, the ongoing and planned energy projects, Georgia's transit role, the country's strategic geographical location, the investment opportunities and importance of the Silk Belt project, connecting west and east.

"Recently we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first transit project, the Baku-Supsa pipeline. The pipeline turned out to be the first project that put Georgia on the energy map. We have since implemented several important projects since then, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, the South Caucasus gas pipeline, and the Shah Deniz project, which guarantees supply of the additional gas to the pipeline,” the PM said.

“The overall volume of investments conducted in the energy sector amounts to the $45 billion, of which $2 is invested directly in Georgia,” Kvirikashvili added.

In his speech, the PM stressed the need to intensify cooperation with Azerbaijan. According to him, in terms of energy supply, Azerbaijan was the “number one strategic partner of Georgia.”

The PM also highlighted the importance of the United States (US) support in terms of energy security.

"The US is an important strategic partner. This is a partnership that has been in place for 25 years, since Georgia regained independence. Therefore, implementation of strategic projects, such as the Baku-Supsa, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline became possible largely due to the US support,” Kvirikashvili said.

Kvirikashvili emphasised that Georgia has demonstrated that it was a stable partner for the West, and it represented a decent base for the expansion of cooperation between the countries of the East with the West.

After the speech, the PM answered questions from the assembly. One of the questions was asked by a representative of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party, and revealed the content that energy investments decreased in the country and there were attempts from the Government to make Georgia dependent on Russian gas.

In response, Kvirikashvili said Georgia was currently undertaking several major energy projects and among them were those suspended by the UNM Government when they were in power in 2003-2012.

The PM stressed undertaking energy projects worth billions of dollars required long negotiations and studies and named the Nenska Hydro Power Plant project - which is currently being implemented - as an example.

The PM stated that the current Government made maximum efforts to attract significant energy investments and encourage those investors who left the country under the previous state leadership to return.

With regards to negotiations with Russia’s energy giant Gazprom, Kvirikashvili stated that Georgia had 40 percent increased demands on gas now and the country was searching for ways to fill the deficit from different sources.

“Finally we settled the problem through an agreement with Azerbaijan’s SOCAR company. Now Georgia gets less than 10 percent of its energy resources from Russia; our energy-dependence on that country is very low.

“Speaking about the Georgian Government-Gazprom cooperation was just a speculation. I’m not going to discuss Russia’s investments in the Georgia’s energy sector at the conference, especially when those Russian investments were provided under the previous state leadership,” Kvirikashvili added.

The one–day event was organised by the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC), the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) and the US Embassy to Georgia.