“We will try to start the construction this year,” he said, adding that it will take two years and cost Armenia about $100 million.
The Armenian and Iranian governments have for years been discussing the project as part of their efforts to deepen economic ties and, in particular, launch more joint energy projects. Movsisian said last July that work on the pipeline will get underway in the autumn. The project has still not gotten off the drawing board, however.
Issues related to its implementation featured large during Movsisian’s visit to Tehran late last month. Iran’s Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi said after their talks that they have worked out key practical modalities of the project and that the 365-kilometer-long pipeline could go on stream by 2014.
Movsisian was more cautious on that score, saying only that the project will be highly beneficial for Armenia. “I’m not saying that gasoline and other fuel prices will definitely fall as a result,” he told a news conference. “But it will allow us to stabilize fuel deliveries to Armenia.”
Movsisian also announced that each side will finance the construction work to be carried out on its territory. The Armenian government will need to raise about $100 million for that purpose and will likely to turn to private investors, he said.
“[Attracting private investments] will not be a difficult task,” added the minister. “I think that there will be many investors interested in such a cost-effective project. It might also be implemented with state funding.”
The head of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company, Alireza Zaykami, reportedly said this week that Iran plans to export 1.5 million liters of gasoline and diesel fuel a day to Armenia through the pipeline.
Movsisian did not confirm this. He said only that Armenia’s annual demand for refined oil products stands at around 400,000 metric tons.