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Russian Factor Arises in Energy Supply of Tbilisi

A part of the gas consumers may get  natural gas  flowing through a pipe  passing via Russia.Commersant.ge was told by  CEO of KazTransGas- Tbilisi.

According to Sanzhar Shokataev, the negotiations with the Russian side will begin immediately after KazTransGas returns under  their management. If the negotiations with Moscow are successful, customers will be able to receive Kazakh gas at a price below the current rate.

In his words, it is not about Russian gas, but the Kazakh, which is expected to be transported through Russia.

“Currently, the gas for the social needs in Georgia is subsidized and it  is unrealistic to lower a rate. But we have the opportunity to buy our  own, Kazakh gas at a lower price. The main issue  is transportation to Georgia. One of the variants  is to conduct  talks with Russia over transit, as the pipeline through which we can receive gas from Kazakhstan passes through the territory of Russia. In  reality, we are talking not about the Russian but  Kazakh gas,”- said Shokataev.

“We do not coordinate this issue with the Government of Georgia as KazTransGas is  a private company. We have the opportunity to buy Kazakh gas at a lower price. Why the Georgian side should block such negotiations? Doesn’t it want to  drop gas prices? “- wonders Sanzhar Shokataev.

Note: In Tbilisi, consumer gas tariff makes GEL 0.46 per cubic meter, commercial gas rate – GEL 0.75.

Does the Kazakh management‘s decision pose threats to Georgia’s energy independence from Russia? Commersant.ge addressed this question to   President of Energy Academy of Georgia Revaz Arveladze.

Arveladze says that  he cannot talk about special dangers, because we are talking only about consumers of “commercial gas”, whose share is not  large.

He believes if  Russia creates problems in gas supplying, this part of consumers, including government agencies, will suffer. However, the Tbilisi gas distribution company will fill this deficit with the  Azerii gas.

In addition, Revaz Arveladze notes that some problems still will be created – after a new sourse of gas supply is found , a part of   Azerbaijani gas will be  released  and the latter will divert  it in the other direction and, therefore, the “commercial gas” consumers  may have gas problems. This would be especially problematic for the state institutions, which are also consumers of commercial gas.

However, Revaz Arveladze sees nothing  harm in importing Russian gas or gas passing through its territory , because, as he says, it will lead to the diversification of supply sources. Today, in his judgment, diversification has  not been carried out  and Georgia depends on Azerbaijan, the only supplier of gas.

Note: Consumers of social gas account for about 70% of the annual consumption of gas, while 30% of consumers get “commercial” gas.