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Azeri gas will take 100% of the Georgian market

By Sopo Datishvili
Monday, November 15
According to an agreement assigned on November 14, Georgia will receive gas from Azerbaijan, without any hindrance, for the next five years.

President Saakashvili mentioned at the Energy summit in Baku, which produced this agreement, that negotiation on this issue had been underway for several years already. The President also highlighted the importance of the agreement for Georgian consumers, as it states that the gas tariff will remain the same in the near future. The President was confident that the Government would not fail to fulfill its 50 month programme, under which 80% of the Georgian population will be provided with natural gas.

Saakashvili also said that despite the world economic crisis Georgia will not have any problems with gas supply, and that this agreement was a demonstration of the support of Azerbaijan for Georgia in these difficult times. Prime Minister of Georgia Grigol Mgaloblishvili said that this was the first time the country had managed to make such a long term agreement with Azerbaijan. “This is important for energy security. The gas transition process will be simplified over the next 5 years. It is also important that the price people will have to pay for the gas will remain the same. This means a stable business environment and more employed people,” Mgaloblishvili added.

Economist Lado Papava is quite skeptical towards this agreement and the promise that over the next few years the gas price won’t rise. He has said that Azerbaijan might keep its promise about not changing the tariff but the guarantees of the Government of Georgia were not strong. “With such economic politics as this Government conducts, I can’t see any guarantees that the tariff won’t be changed,” he added.

The President of SOCAR, Rovnag Abdulaev, says that according to the contract Georgia will receive 892 cubic metres of Azerbaijani gas within five years to neutralize its deficit. “Azerbaijan covers 70% of the Georgian market. The other 30% is financed by the Goergian Government. In five years we are aiming to cover 100% of the market,” he added.

The summit included discussions on global energy security and the growing importance of energy markets to international politics and economics. The participants agreed to continue their efforts to fulfill joint projects to strengthen the energy security of Europe. They also underlined the importance of those projects crossing the territories of Georgia and Turkey.