Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Planned Iran-Armenia Gas Pipeline: "a Very Important Geopolitical Development," Columnist Says

In a recent article, Turkish columnist Fikret Ertan muses that the planned gas pipeline from Iran to Armenia is " very important geopolitical development."


Iran-Armenia Natural Gas Pipeline

The harsh winter conditions we have been experiencing recently are causing a headache for Turkey. Thank God we have no energy problem under these difficult circumstances.

We have electricity and natural gas, however, the situation is not the same for some of our neighbors. They have no natural gas and also have electricity problems.

Georgia is one of our neighbors going through difficult times nowadays. This country is without fuel and electricity, due to last Sunday’s explosions which occurred on the natural gas and power transmission lines coming from Russia, hence, it is trying to purchase fuel and electricity from Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan.

Our other neigbor, Armenia, is also facing similar problems these days, though not as much as Georgia. Because it buys the Russian natural gas via Georgia, there is a natural gas crisis in this country as well.

Since Armenia depends completely on Russia’s natural gas, just as Georgia, but had foreseen these problems, it wants rid itself of Russia’s Gazprom natural gas monopoly and so is looking for ways to make this materialize. Armenia’s search for other alternatives has made it have close natural gas ties with its neighbor Iran, where we also purchase natural gas.

This natural gas ties between Armenia and Iran will result in the completion of a new natural gas line that is expected to start operating at full speed towards the fall of 2006. Preparations for this new line began two years ago after an agreement between the Armenian government and the Iranian National Gas Company, (NIGC), and this line starts from the vicinity of the Iranian city of Tabriz and ends at Iranian-Armenian border. The line costs about $220 million. This 160-km line, expected to be completed ahead of schedule, will first go into operation in the fall of 2006 and then will start operating at full capacity towards the middle of 2007. Hence, Iran will ultimately rid itself of its dependence on Russia’s natural gas, thus obtaining a real trump card against Russia’s Gazprom.

[End Excerpt]

Read the article in full here.