Iran signs pilot contract with Georgia on gas export

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran has signed a small-scale pilot contract with a Georgian customer to export gas to the Caucasian country via Armenia, Iran’s oil minister announced on Tuesday.

Iran hopes that the pilot deal will be implemented by next March with the supply of gas through Armenian territory, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told reporters in Tehran on Tuesday, after a meeting with Armenia’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Levon Yolyan.

Earlier this month, an Iranian energy official had said that a project on exporting gas to Georgia will be finalized within two months. According to the official, Iranian gas will go to Georgia through a supply station at a border village used for delivering gas to Armenia.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Zanganeh said his meeting with Yolyan revolved around an Armenian proposition for the establishment of a new organization by Yerevan that would regulate gas projects and contracts between Iran and Armenia hereafter.

The new Armenian organization would take charge of negotiations with Iran on new gas deals and of transit of energy to Georgia, according to the Iranian minister.

Zanganeh then pointed to the measures Iran has taken as a favor to its neighbor, saying Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri has allowed for a rise in the export of gas to Armenia following Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan’s request in the wake of a technical failure in a pipeline that supplies Armenia with Russian gas.

As an assistance, which is not part of the gas contract between Tehran and Yerevan, Iran raised the amount of gas export to Armenia from 1 million cubic meters (mcm) to 3.5 million, he added.

The Iranian minister also unveiled plans for a permanent threefold rise in the gas exports to Armenia by the end of 2018, from the current 1 mcm per day.

Armenia is not a major consumer, but can open the door for Iran’s gas exports to other countries, Zanganeh noted.

Iran has built a pipeline, traversing 113 kilometers, between its northwestern city of Tabriz and Nurduz border crossing to export gas to Armenia.

In 2004, the Yerevan government also initiated construction of Iran-Armenia gas pipeline. The pipeline became fully operational in 2007.

By Tasnim News Agency