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Georgia’s gas pendulum2010-11-18 18:02
Georgia is cute for its ficklessness. Yesterday the Georgian government once again refused to sell obsolete North-South gas main. In spite of the fact that the facility was crossed out of the list of strategic objects in summer, it still is a matter of fuss on a dog-in-the-manger principle. Georgian government accounts this flinging for high interest many states show to South Caucasian countries confessing that the facility won't be sold though. Already today Shushan Sardanyan, Armrosgazprom (Armenia-Russia) company spokesman announced the group's plans to take part in the tender if Georgia changes mind.
The X hour is close: next April Georgian government must take a final decision on the gas pipeline stretch going through Georgia. The fact that it will be sold is obvious. The only question everyone asks is to whom.
Money the USA once allocated for modernization of gas transport system vanished while depreciation of the system is a challenge to further operability of the gas main. No wonder that all participants connected with gas transportation in the Caspian region immediately came forward with their suggestions about the ways Georgia can dispose of its now non-strategic assets.
Before Shushan Sardaryan's statements Rovnag Abdullaev, president of State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) said the republic was ready to take over the stretch delivering natural gas to Armenia. SOCAR has already submitted a related proposal to the Georgian gas company that allegedly showed interest promising to help if parliamentarians decide.
It is clear that Armenia is concerned over possible dependence on Azerbaijan. That is why Armenians started exploiting Georgia's pride. "If the tender is announced, the Georgian side will hold it transparently. We plan to carry out an analysis and if we consider the deal economically reasonable it is not impossible that Armrosgaszprom will take part in it", - Sardanyan said.
The statement that liberal economy laws are valid in Georgia could be most effective. If not for one "but"
Even if Georgian parliament refuses to cooperate with friends united by a mythic confederation, it will be quite hard for the parliament to agree to sell the pipeline to Armenia. 80% of the Armenian company is owned by Gazprom, Russian gas group under the agreement "On cooperation in construction and operation of gas pipelines in the territory of the Republic of Armenia, transit of Russian natural gas across the territory of the Republic of Armenia, electric power production and transit to third countries".