By Emil Danielyan
The ArmRosGazprom distributor appears to have staved off a drastic cut in Russian natural gas supplies to Armenia after prolonged talks with senior executives from the ITERA gas exporter.
Karen Karapetian, the chief manager of the Russian-Armenian joint venture which runs Armenia’s gas infrastructure, was expected to return from Moscow late on Tuesday. A source in ArmRosGazprom told RFE/RL that he won yet another reprieve for the country heavily dependent on gas for power generation.
But it was not clear whether Karapetian worked out a new timetable for the repayment of Armenia’s debt to ITERA or partly repaid it with a loan from a Russian commercial bank. ArmRosGazprom officials have said before that the latter option is more likely.
ITERA warned late last month that it will cut gas exports to Armenia by two thirds unless its government settles its outstanding debts by February 1. It claimed that the Armenian side failed to make good on its pledge to repay the $6 million debt for last year’s deliveries and incurred $3.85 million in additional debts in January. The company, which is controlled by the Russian fuel giant Gazprom, later extended the deadline to February 11.
ArmRosGazprom officials said the volume of the gas supplies remained unchanged at 5.2 million cubic meters on Tuesday.