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Energy Minister Comments on Gas Price, Relations with Gazprom
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 30 Nov.'05 / 14:15

Georgian Energy Minister Nika Gilauri confirmed on November 29 that Russian energy company Gazprom will increase the price of gas for Georgia from the current USD 63 to USD 110 per 1000 cubic meters starting next year, however added that the price of gas will not increase for the population of the capital city Tbilisi until spring.

Official Tbilisi has already described Gazprom’s decision to change the gas price for Georgia as “a political decision.”

“We [the government] should cover the difference between the old and new prices during the winter period, when gas consumption significantly increases among the population,” Gilauri told reporters on November 29.

The Minister did not rule out that the increase in gas price will also trigger at least a 2% increase in electricity tariffs.

Next year Gazprom plans to deliver 2 billion cubic meters of gas to Georgia, “without any delays”, the Energy Minister added.

He also noted that the agreement over this increase in the price of gas will apparently be signed next week during a visit to Tbilisi by Alexander Ryazanov, Deputy Board Chairman of Gazprom.

An agreement to set up a joint Russian-Georgian venture, which would be owned equally by both sides, will also be signed during Ryazanov’s visit.

“This venture will deal with the maintenance of the gas pipeline system of Georgia, as well as with investments in Georgia’s gas transportation capabilities and gasification of the cities of Zugdidi, Poti [western Georgia] and Batumi [Adjara Autonomous Republic],” Nika Gilauri said, adding that maintenance of the gas pipeline system does not mean that it will pass into the ownership of Gazprom.

The Minister said that the Georgian side is actively negotiating a dealt with Gazprom on the increase of the price of natural gas transit to Armenia via Georgia, however he refrained from specifying exact figures. “The talks on this issue are still underway,” he added.

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