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Gas price won’t go up?.. Georgia is unlikely to be believe it2008-11-18 09:36
Georgia's government has informed of entering into an extremely lucrative contract for natural gas supply with Azerbaijan for the following 5 years ascertaining that the gas prices for Georgians will most likely not go up.
The experts close to the authorities confirm this optimistic statement specifying however that "it is not expected in the nearest future".
Meanwhile the contract terms remain unknown to most Tbilisians and the Georgian mass media do not inform of anything apart from the gas "fixed price" and the intention of SOCAR, an Azerbaijanian company, to rehabilitate the gas distributing network of Georgia.
At the same time Azerbaijanian information agencies have disseminated information according to which SOCAR that signed the memorandum for gas supply with Georgia's Ministry of Economy is obtaining an opportunity to operate actively on Georgian market.
In compliance with the memorandum SOCAR is setting up a subsidiary that will provide the groups of consumers inside the country that will be determined by the government (social groups) with gas.
According to "Trend" information agency "for five years the Georgian party will sell gas from three sources: Russian and Azerbaijanian transits (by South Caucasian pipeline) and the commercial gas from the Azerbaijanian deposit "Shakh Deniz" to the SOCAR subsidiary at fixed prices. The latter in its turn undertakes to provide consumers from Georgia's social groups with deficient gas". It is noteworthy that it will get the Azerbaijanian gas at the volume of 892 mln cubic meters at the price of 527 dollars per thousand cubic meters according to "Day.az" information agency.
Economic expert Niko Orvelashvili while commenting on this situation for GeorgiaTimes pointed out that Mikhail Saakashvili had not mentioned the cost of gas speaking about the memorandum signed in Baku. He only expressed a hope that the gas prices would not increase. That's why the expert called the statements of government representatives on maintaining former gas prices as lame as the promises not to raise prices on goods and services in connection with the fall of national currency rate.
And prices in Georgia have given a dramatic jump recently. Both food and other goods have become more expensive. The traders state that they bought them for dollars and when the American currency rate went up they can't but advance the prices otherwise they will suffer losses. In pharmacies it affected even the cheapest medicines. For instance 10 pills of "raunatinum" that a few days ago cost 15 tetri now cost twice more.
"There is the other side of the question. If in the Kremlin total isolation of Georgia is considered necessary, and I have no doubts about that, they will surely find mechanisms of pressing Azerbaijan into stopping gas supplies to Georgia, - Orvelashvili specified.
As he says Azerbaijan makes up for natural gas deficiency by gas deliveries from Russia, and if these subside gas supplies to Georgia will have to be abandoned.
Giya Khukhashvili, an expert, was doubtful about the correctness of the figure 527 dollars per thousand cubic meters of gas designated by the Azerbaijanian agency.
"I don't think Azerbaijan that has been our partners and has fulfilled its obligations for gas supply to Georgia all these years in a steady way could jerk up the prices from 120 to 527 dollars. All the more so that there are no such prices on the global market, in Europe gas has even become cheaper, - Khukhashvili observed.