By Leman Mammadova
There are strong guarantees that Georgia’s demand for natural gas will be provided by Azerbaijani gas, Natia Turnava, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, said at a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Economic Policy.
“Georgia’s energy security is one of the main priorities of the government, and we will ensure the security of our country in this area as well. For this, we have a reliable partner,” she noted.
Turnava added that this year, Georgia is expected to consume 2.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas, 95 percent of which will be supplied from Azerbaijan.
In her words, Azerbaijan remains a strategic partner of Georgia in the supply of natural gas.
“Today, Georgia receives natural gas from Azerbaijan through two sources. Thus, Georgia supplies the population and thermal power plants with gas purchased from SOCAR. In addition, Georgia receives a transit share for the transportation of Azerbaijani gas to the world market. This, in turn, is used in energy security of the country,” the Georgian minister noted.
She added that as for the commercial segment, competition in business is necessary. Georgia, which covers its demand for natural gas mainly due to imports from Azerbaijan, this year has resumed its deliveries from Russia.
According to the changes made in May to the balance of natural gas in 2019, this year it is planned to import 144.1 million cubic meters of gas from Russia, which is 5.5 percent of the total volume of its imports in Georgia.
Turnava further stressed that Georgia is interested in the development of Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, TANAP and TAP projects, adding that for this purpose, the country is implementing important projects with Azerbaijan.
The minister underlined that Georgian government has made significant efforts to diversify energy lines and other natural gas sources.
“Georgia takes important steps towards the development of natural gas projects in the region,” she emphasized.
Azerbaijan and Georgia maintain high-level relations in all spheres, especially in economic field. Two countries have already taken initiatives for global projects in the region together for a long time. Close bilateral ties play a key role in the development of regional cooperation.
The trade turnover between Georgia and Azerbaijan amounted to $1.1 billion in 2018. Azerbaijan became the third largest trading partner of Georgia after Turkey and Russia in 2018.
In 1995-2018, Georgia invested $93.8 million in Azerbaijani economy and Azerbaijan invested $ 3 billion in Georgia. Since 2012, Azerbaijan is in the first place in terms of investments in Georgia. More than 300 Georgian companies registered in Azerbaijan, about 650 Azerbaijani investment companies, especially SOCAR, operate successfully in Georgia.
The two countries broadly cooperate in regional energy development, transportation and economic partnership projects such as Southern Gas Corridor, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC), Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway (BTK), the TRACECA, and the BSEC.
SOCAR is also deeply involved in the energy market in Georgia which was established in 2006. The company's activity includes retail and bulk selling of fuel in Georgia, importing of petroleum and liquid gas, construction of oil terminals and warehouses. At present, there are over 70 SOCAR filling stations operating in the country.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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