The head of an Armenian regulatory body said on Thursday that it is not yet clear whether the price of Russian natural gas imported by Armenia will change next year.
Russia’s Gazprom monopoly raised the wholesale price from $150 to $165 per thousand cubic meters in January. But under an agreement reached by it with the Armenian government, the cost of its gas for Armenian households and corporate consumers will remain the same for now.
Garegin Baghramian, the chairman of the Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC), expressed confidence that Armenia’s Gazprom-owned gas distribution network will not ask the PSRC to raise the retail prices as well this year.
But Baghramian could not say whether the Russian gas tariffs for Armenia will rise, fall or remain unchanged in 2020. He said the government is continuing to negotiate with the Russian side on the issue.
“I can’t say at this point what will happen. Like I have said before, each party negotiates to try achieve a more economically beneficial result,” he told reporters, adding that Yerevan hopes to convince the Russians to cut the gas price.
Reports in the Armenian and Russian media have said that Moscow is on the contrary keen to raise the current tariff set below international market-based levels. Baghramian dismissed these reports as mere “presumptions.”
The gas issue is expected to be on the agenda of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Yerevan slated for October. Putin most recently discussed it with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian at a meeting held in Saint Petersburg on June 6. Pashinian said after those talks that a low gas price is essential for continued economic growth in Armenia.