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Iranian Official Claims ‘Tentative’ Gas Deal With Georgia


Armenia - The construction in Syunik province of a pipeline that will ship Iranian natural gas to Armenia, 21Aug2007.

Armenia - The construction in Syunik province of a pipeline that will ship Iranian natural gas to Armenia, 21Aug2007.

The Iranian and Georgian governments have reached a preliminary agreement to supply Iranian natural gas to Georgia via neighboring Armenia, according to a senior official in Tehran.

Alireza Kameli, head of the Iranian National Gas Export Company, made the claim in remarks posted on the official website of Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum. Kameli said Georgia will likely import up to 500 million of Iranian gas annually through a pipeline running across Armenia. He gave no other details.

Kameli already announced on January 4 that the Georgian side has held negotiations with the Islamic Republic on possible gas imports. Georgia’s Energy Ministry confirmed those talks but stressed that no “concrete agreements” have been reached yet.

Asked by RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) to comment on Kameli’s latest claims, the Armenian Energy Ministry said on Monday that will provide “clarifications” on the matter later this week.

Armenia imports around 500 million cubic meters of Iranian gas through the pipeline inaugurated in 2008. The pipeline’s maximum capacity is estimated at 2 billion cubic meters per annum.

Georgia has purchased much greater volumes of gas from Azerbaijan for the past decade. Its government announced in October that it is considering buying gas also from Russia or Iran.

In December, Georgian Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze held talks in Luxemburg with Alexei Miller, the head of Russia’s Gazprom monopoly. Miller said afterwards that Gazprom is ready to supply large volumes of gas to Georgia through a complex arrangement that would also involve Armenia and Iran.

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