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Energy Minister to explain energy deal with Gazprom

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, January 16
The parliamentary opposition calls on the Energy Minister, Kakha Kaladze, to disclose the details of the recently made agreement with the Russian energy giant, Gazprom.

Gazprom and Kaladze made a new agreement on January 10 2017, which states that Georgia, as a transit country for the transportation of Russian gas to Armenia, will receive a monetary payment from Gazprom.

Previously, Russia has been paying Georgia for gas transportation by supplying natural gas to the amount of 10% of the volume of transported gas.

All the other details of the deal are unknown, including the amount of money which will be paid to Georgia by Russia.

The minority says the new deal is anti- state and is unprofitable for Georgia.

“This agreement contradicts national interests. It is problematic in terms of energy security, and economically unprofitable. That is why we call on Kaladze to explain the details of this contract. The public should know what is going on,” stressed Sergo Ratiani, a member of the European Georgia faction.

Another member of the minority, Elene Khoshtaria, believes that the agreement endangers Georgia’s energy independence.

“Gazprom is a political organization and a political tool in the hands of Putin,” she said.

The majority Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) says the agreement with Gazprom was the most “optimal” and it does not affect Georgia’s energy independence.

“All the questions have been answered regarding the issue and the society has been informed in details. The request of the majority is irrelevant,” member of the GDDG Mamuka Mdinaradze said.

The new agreement with Gazprom came after the previous deal expired on December 31, 2016.

The new agreement is a two-year deal. The previous arrangement will remain in place throughout 2017, after which the monetary payment system will come into effect.

At a press conference last week, Kaladze explained that the new agreement does not mean that Georgia is becoming more dependent on Russian energy.

He added that if Georgia needs additional gas supplies in winter, it would be received at a reduced price of $185 instead of $215 per 1000 m3.

Gazprom also commented on the deal, saying the agreement was “profitable for both sides”.

“The Russian side guarantees paying for the transit of Russian gas through Georgia to Armenia in 2017-2018 in the volume of 2.0-2.2 billion cubic meters per year, as well as supplying Georgia with natural gas on flexible terms at the price lower by USD 30 per 1000 cubic meters than in 2016,” Gazprom’s statement reads.

A total of 23 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) under the Coalition for Euro-Atlantic Georgia released a statement and called on the government to disclose all details of the deal with Gazprom.

“The new terms worsen the country’s energy security and the government’s arguments concerning the new agreement are not satisfactory,” the coalition said in a statement released last week.