Senior executives from a Turkish energy company will arrive Yerevan next week for fresh talks on planned exports of Armenian electricity to Turkey, Energy Minister Armen Movsisian said on Friday.
The Istanbul-based Unit Group and Armenia’s state-run power transmission company reportedly signed an agreement to that effect during Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s September 2008 visit to Yerevan. Movsisian and other Armenian officials repeatedly stated in the following months that Armenian power supplies to Turkey will start in April 2009.
Movsisian told journalists Friday that the supplies have still not begun, despite the completion of preparatory work on the Turkish side, because of “political problems in Turkey.” He said the fence-mending “protocols” signed by the Armenian and Turkish foreign ministers in Zurich on October 10 pave the way for the implementation of the supply agreement. The Unit representatives will discuss the matter with Armenian energy officials in Yerevan “in the coming days,” added Movsisian.
The Turkish government has still not officially confirmed the existence of such an agreement. Some officials in Ankara have actually denied that Turkey is set to buy electricity from a country with which it has no open border and diplomatic relations.
However, information posted on Unit’s website affirms that the Turkish energy company did sign a deal with Armenia’s High-Voltage Electricity Networks. “Starting in 2007, Unit has developed a project for a cross border electricity trade business with Armenia,” the company informs website visitors. “According to the business plan, Unit will import electricity produced in Armenia into the Turkish electricity market.”
“Electricity trade between Turkey and Armenia is expected to start in [the second quarter of] 2009, when all the necessary permits and the technical arrangements between Turkey and Armenia are finalized,” it adds in a statement that was apparently posted late last year or early this.
Movsisian had earlier estimated the initial volume of planned electricity exports to Turkey at 1.5 billion kilowatt/hours a year. Armenia’s electricity output totalled roughly 6 billion kilowatt/hours in 2008.