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No Deal Yet On Russian Gas Price For Armenia


Armenia - Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian holds a cabinet meeting, Yerevan, 11Feb2016.

Armenia - Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian holds a cabinet meeting, Yerevan, 11Feb2016.

The Russian and Armenian presidents discussed the possibility of lowering the price of Russian natural gas supplied to Armenia when they met in Moscow last week, Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian confirmed on Wednesday.

“There is no decision yet but discussions are continuing,” Abrahamian told reporters. “The president of the republic discussed the issue when he met with the president of the Russian Federation.”

“Now the [Russian and Armenian energy] ministries and Gazprom-Armenia [gas distribution network] are holding negotiations on the gas issue,” he said.

The press offices of Vladimir Putin and Serzh Sarkisian made no mention of the issue in their statements on the March 10 talks held by the two leaders.

Sarkisian was accompanied by Armenian Energy and Natural Resources Minister Levon Yolian during the trip to Moscow. Yolian said in Yerevan on Monday that the two sides will likely work out soon “final solutions and agreements” on the gas tariff.

Abrahamian announced in January that Yerevan is seeking a lower price of Russian gas in view of the sharp drop in international oil prices.

Gazprom, which supplies at least 80 percent of Armenia’s gas, cut the price from almost $190 to $165 per thousand cubic meters about a year ago. Its gas tariff for European countries has plummeted from an average of $350 to around $200 per thousand cubic meters in the last two years.

Speaking at a meeting in September of the prime ministers of Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) member states, Abrahamian proposed that the prices of natural gas and other “strategic” commodities traded within the trade bloc be set in Russian rubles. The Russian currency has lost more than half of its value against the U.S. dollar since July 2014.

“We have not yet made progress on this front,” Abrahamian said when asked about his proposal. He said he will again discuss it with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev when the latter arrives in Yerevan on April 7.

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