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Gazprom may ruin Tbilisi’s elation2010-09-07 17:45
The British Petroleum company keeps "losing weight" by selling out its property to eliminate the consequences of oil dumping in the Gulf of Mexico. Now it's the turn of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline operated by the British group of companies. Gazprom has long been interested in acquiring assets in Azerbaijan, so even the Russian Federation government promised to promote the conclusion of possible transactions in every way. Can you hear the yelling? It comes from Tbilisi, which recently almost had to part with the cross-country gas pipeline and may now also lose profitable contracts on Caspian oil pumping.
BP's business is growing worse. The ecologic catastrophe induced by the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon sank platform reduced the British company capitalization by 32 billion dollars. On this basis, the group of companies has to sell out the property in order to cover financial expenses on mending the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico and pay the bills issued by the US state bodies.
As of this August, British Petroleum earned about 9 billion dollars, which is not that much, perhaps, but considering the situation the group of companies should better not bargain. The more so, as Moody's international rating agency has brought down the forecast of the British energy giant's rating from "stable" to "negative", so its subsidiaries are humbly waiting to be transferred to more reliable hands.
Other companies are acting according to the principle "you see it - you buy it". Alexey Miller, head of Russian Gazprom, stated while staying in Baku that the company would be glad to acquire something which is put on sale. Naturally, by "something" Mr. Miller meant the oil pipeline running from Azerbaijan to the Turkish seaport of Ceyhan through the Georgian territory. The annual volume of petrochemicals is about 35 million tons, which is 1% of the entire global production. One can imagine the amount of profit earned by the Georgian tax treasury due to the long-term contracts with Azerbaijan, with which the dreamy Georgian government has already merged into one single organism in its imagination.
Another point is that it is necessary to agree with the asset's owners first - Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia, for the British Petroleum company itself can sell its right of pipeline operation solely upon their consent.
Archil Gegeshidze, political expert, member of Georgian Strategic and International Research Foundation, believes that the mentioned transaction also depends on whether the parties consider it to be expedient: