YEREVAN, December 17. / ARKA /. Energy and natural resources minister Armen Movsisyan told a parliamentary hearing today that Armenian officials will look into the possibility of buying natural gas from neighboring Iran when the joint bilateral commission on economic cooperation meets early next year.
The minister said an agreement to that end was reached at a meeting with Iranian ambassador to Armenia. The commission is expected to meet either in January or February 2014. He reiterated that Iran is ready to sell gas to Armenia at $400 per one thousand cubic meters.
"Since 2010 , when the Russian Gazprom announced an increase in the price of gas supplied to Armenia I had five meetings with Iranian officials, but these negotiations were fruitless because Iran said it could sell gas to Armenia for $400. Since we did not have other alternatives, we had to continue negotiations with the Russian side," he said.
The minister also stressed that Russian Gazprom does not prevent Armenia from negotiating with other gas suppliers.
"Armenia has neither legal nor political obligation to purchase gas only from Gazprom. If someone offers us cheaper gas or if we find a cheaper supplier we will be ready to import cheaper gas,” he said.
Under an agreement signed in Yerevan December 2 by Armenia and Russia, the Armenian government ceded its remaining 20 percent share in ArmRosGazprom (ARG) national gas Distribution Company to Russia’s Gazprom monopoly. The deal was announced during Russian president Vladimir Putin’s visit to Armenia. Before the deal was signed Gazporm held 80 percent share in the distributing company.
Gazprom will also cut the price of Russian gas for Armenia to 189 dollars per thousand cubic meters as part of another agreement on canceling 30 percent customs duties on the Russian gas shipped to Armenia. -0-