Moscow and Yerevan have still not agreed on a new price of Russian natural gas imported by Armenia, Energy Minister Garegin Baghramian said on Thursday.
Baghramian revealed that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian discussed the matter with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit of ex-Soviet states held in Saint Petersburg last week. They did not reach any agreements, he said.
Armenia currently pays $150 per thousand cubic meters of Russian gas in line with a 2016 agreement that runs until the end of this month. By comparison, Russia’s Gazprom monopoly charges European Union countries more than $200 per thousand cubic meters.
The Armenian government and Gazprom started negotiating on a new deal this fall. Yerevan hopes that the Russians will at least keep the current price unchanged.
Baghramian stressed that the price will remain the same for the time being if the two sides fail to cut a deal by December 31.
“The  agreement will remain in force until the negotiations are over,” he told reporters. “These are quite difficult and time-consuming negotiations … The [new] price will be set only when the negotiations are over.”
Gazprom, which owns Armenia’s gas distribution network, already cut the price from about $190 to $165 per thousand cubic meters in 2015 and on to $150 in 2016.
The network’s chief executive, Hrant Tadevosian, indicated on November 19 that the Russian giant could raise the price soon. Tadevosian said that his company has operated at a loss for a second consecutive year.