Iranian gas is alternative to Russia�s: Georgia

The Georgian government has announced it considers Iran as an alternative gas supplier, albeit in the shorter term due to the higher price of Iranian gas.

Currently, Georgia receives its gas from Russian giants Gazprom and Itera.

“Iranian gas can serve as an alternative source of gas supply for Georgia only in cases of emergency situations and in the case that Russia reduces or stops the gas supply to Georgia,” said Georgian Energy Ministry spokesperson Teona Doliashvili.

“The project is a long-term one and may be launched as early as next year. [Iran, however], cannot be a permanent supplier for us, as Iranian gas is more expensive,” she added, although Doliashvili did confirm Iran considers Georgia as a gateway to gas markets in Europe.

It is understood, if such a deal were to go through, Iranian gas to Georgia would pass either through Armenia or through Azerbaijan. The former is, allegedly, the preferred choice as the Azerbaijan-Georgia pipeline is in need of a US$2 million rehabilitation.

According to Georgian gas distribution company SakGazi, the Iran-Armenia-Georgia route would prove the most cost-effective.

“These considerations over a gas supply from Iran were launched some three years ago, but discussions yielded no results, mainly because of the lack of finances to rehabilitate the pipe. I think the Armenian option will be cheaper,” said SakGazi spokesperson Maka Arakhamia.