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Energy Crisis Worsens as Equipment Fails on Russo-Azeri Border
/ 24 Jan.'06 / 17:01
Civil Georgia

The gas supply to Georgia from Azerbaijan has decreased from more than 3 million cubic meters to 2.5 million cubic meters per day, after gas compressor equipment was damaged at the Russian-Azeri border, Georgian Energy Minister Nika Gilauri said at a news conference on January 24.

Gilauri said that he has no information regarding the reasons behind the damage of this gas compressor, which is located on the Russian side of the Russo-Azeri border.

Georgia was receiving more than 3 million cubic meters of Russian gas per day via Azerbaijan after two pipelines were blown-up in North Ossetia on January 22. This amount of gas was enough to supply gas to consumers in the capital Tbilisi, as well as to the 9th power generator in Gardabani.

Gilauri said that as a result of the current shortage of gas, the supply will now be cut again to some consumers in Tbilisi. 

“The initial situation, when we were able to provide all of Tbilisi with gas, has now changed and the gas supply will be cut-off to some consumers in Tbilisi,” Gilauri said at a news conference.

“I have talked with my Azeri counterpart, who assured me that despite gas shortage problems, which Azerbaijan itself now faces, the minimal supply of 2.5 million cubic meters to Georgia will be maintained,” Nika Gilauri said.

The overall gas supply to Azerbaijan from Russia was decreased by 4 million cubic meters after the gas compressor was damaged.
 
Gilauri also said that the situation is further complicated by delays in rehabilitating the gas pipeline in North Ossetia.

“I have talked with representatives of Gazprom. They say that the reason for this delay is a flow of gas condensation. The Russian side fails to name an exact date when these rehabilitation works will be over,” Gilauri said.

But he questioned the reason cited by the Russian side for these delays.

“According to our experts, a flow of condensation through this pipe is absolutely impossible,” Gilauri added.

Gilauri also said that a representative of the Georgian side is not being allowed to be present during the rehabilitation works, “as he was requested to leave the site by the Russian side.”

“So we have no information whether the rehabilitation works are currently underway or not,” the Georgian Energy Minister said.

When asked whether the failure of the gas compressor equipment on the Russian side of Russo-Azeri border was a deliberate act or not, Gilauri replied that he does not want “to make any conclusions.”

“But there are questions which trigger a great deal of doubt: why our representatives were barred from attending the restoration works? Why the gas condensation started to flow in the pipeline two days after it was blown up? We have these questions, but we have not yet received answers,” Gilauri said.

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