Georgia interested in Trans-Caspian gas pipeline

By Aynur Jafarova

Georgia is interested in the implementation of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline project for the diversification of gas supply sources, according to Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Marika Valishvili.

"We will be very glad if the gas from Central Asia will be supplied via the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline and then through Azerbaijan and Georgia," Valishvili said.

According to the deputy minister, the main component of Georgia's energy security is the diversification of energy sources and supply routes. Georgia plans to establish alternative routes of gas supplies over the long term, which constitutes the energy strategy of the country.

"We are ready to consider all alternatives for Georgia's gas supply security. We have no illusions about the completion of this process in the coming months. This is very intense work," Valishvili said.

According to Valishvili, Georgia is also ready to consider the possibility to supply gas from Russia which, along with Azerbaijan, is the closest gas supplier to Georgia. However, the final decision on any alternative gas supplier will depend on price, volume and other factors.

According to Valishvili, no measures aimed at the diversification of gas supply sources have been undertaken or are planned yet, and Tbilisi is now considering the options available.

The Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline running around 300 kilometers is to be laid from the Turkmen coast of the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan, where it will be linked to the Southern Gas Corridor.

Talks on the construction of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline between Turkmenistan, the EU and other countries have been held since the late 1990s. The negotiation process intensified after the EU issued a mandate to start negotiations on the preparation of an agreement between the EU, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on the Trans-Caspian project in September 2011.

Earlier, Azerbaijani Minister of Industry and Energy Natig Aliyev said that two documents, which must be signed at the level of the presidents of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and European Commission and the governments of the two Caspian littoral countries, are being prepared within the Trans-Caspian project.

The minister noted that Turkmenistan has expressed its support for the project implementation. This means the Turkmen side is ready to deliver around 30 billion cubic meters of gas for the project. Azerbaijan, in turn, is ready to ensure suitable conditions for the transportation of Turkmen gas.