PM Nika Gilauri reiterated during his visit to Yerevan on February 16, that Georgia would not sell controlling stake in North-South Gas Pipeline through which Armenia receives gas from Russia, Yerevan-based news agency, Novosti Armenia, reported.
“I was asked this question previously for number of times and I want to state, that the Georgian government will not be selling controlling stakes of the gas pipeline. There are strategic assets, which the Georgian government will continue to manage,” Gilauri was quoted as saying at a news conference in Yerevan in response to a journalist’s question.
The idea of initial public offering of minority shares of Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation (GOGC), which operates the North-South Gas Pipeline, was first voiced by PM Gilauri last summer, when the legislative process was underway in the Georgian Parliament for removing the pipeline from the list of “strategic assets”, hence paving the way for potential sale of its shares.
In January Azerbaijani news agency, Azeri-Press Agency (APA), reported quoting the president of Azerbaijan's state-owned oil firm SOCAR, Rovnag Abdullayev, that the company was interested in purchasing the North-South Gas Pipeline.
Alexander Khetaguri, the Georgian energy minister, said in an interview with Reuters earlier this month that Georgia was considering registering 25% of GOGC’s shares on international stock exchange as a part of an IPO process possibly next year. He, however, also added that issuing of the corporation’s Eurobonds instead of IPO was not also ruled out.