Georgia’s Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze said on Saturday that the Russian energy company Gazprom has agreed to pay the Eurasian country 10 percent of Russian gas transported to Armenia across Georgia, according to media from the country.
Mr. Kaladze said that the contract will be signed in the coming days, adding that it will remain in force until late 2016. Previously, the Georgian Energy Ministry said that a new agreement with Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR will provide Georgia with 500 million cubic meters of gas.
“According to the agreement this year we remain within the scope of the existing contract, which is in force for years already, envisaging receiving as a transit fee 10 percent of natural gas transported [from Russia to Armenia],” he said, according to Civil Georgia from Georgia.
Recently, Gazprom proposed the idea of monetizing the transit fee and paying cash to Georgia, instead of providing the country with 10 percent of the gas transported to Armenia. That being said, Georgia would not be able to buy the same amount of gas that it is currently receiving.
However, as a result of the new deal with Azerbaijan, “there is no need for additional volumes of gas”, said Energy Minister Kaladze, according to Civil Georgia. He remarked that if Gazprom insists on monetizing the fee in the future, local authorities from Georgia will have a stronger position.
Protests against Gazprom
On Sunday, the opposition party United National Movement conducted a human chain protest in Tbilisi against the gas company. Davit Bakradze said that the protest was close to achieving its goal since the government said “no” to Gazprom’s proposals of monetizing the fee.
However, the protest “will not achieve its goal” until protesters make the government say “no to influence and darkness of Russia’s Gazprom”, said Bakradze, who is the leader of the United National Movement parliamentary minority group, according to Civil.
Analysts have calculated that 40 percent of Gazprom’s revenue come from European countries. In 2014, the gas company had revenues of $106.3 billion, and a net income of $3.1 billion, being the Russian Government its major owner with 50.23 percent of shares.
Source: Civil Georgia