Prime Minister Karen Karapetian again signaled Armenia’s desire to import natural gas from Turkmenistan when he met with the Central Asian state’s energy minister on Wednesday.
Charymyrat Purchekov arrived in Yerevan to attend a regular session of a Turkmen-Armenian intergovernmental commission of economic cooperation. He also held separate talks with Karapetian.
An Armenian government statement said Karapetian spoke of “great potential for [Turkmen-Armenian] cooperation in the economy and especially the energy sector.”
“In the context of its realization, the parties stressed the importance of the Armenian prime minister’s upcoming official visit to Turkmenistan, during which the sides will discuss issues, projects and programs of mutual interest,” added the statement.
Karapetian met with Iran’s and Turkmenistan’s ambassadors to Armenia in January to discuss what his press office called “trilateral cooperation in the field of energy” and “supply of energy resources.” It was an apparent reference to possible deliveries of Turkmen natural gas to Armenia via Iran.
Hydrocarbon-rich Turkmenistan was Armenia’s principal supplier of natural gas in the 1990s, until the Armenian government signed a long-term deal with Russia’s Gazprom monopoly. The latter currently supplies more than 80 percent of gas used in Armenia for power generation, heating and other purposes.
The rest of Armenian gas imports come from Iran through a pipeline built in 2008. Visiting Yerevan in December 21, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said he and his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian agreed in principle to increase Iranian gas supplies to Armenia.
Rouhani also announced that his country is ready to serve as a transit route for Armenia’s gas imports from Turkmenistan. He did not go into details.
Those imports could be complicated by a financial dispute between Turkmenistan and Iran that led the Turkmen government to suspend gas exports to the Islamic Republic on January 1.