YEREVAN, February 26. / ARKA /. Seventy-five members of the Armenian parliament voted today to set up an ad hoc parliamentary commission to look into the government’s recent agreements with Russian Gazprom monopoly and gas supplies from Russia.
Three lawmakers voted against and 30 MPs, representing largely the Prosperous Armenia Party, refrained from voting.
Prosperous Armenia Party parliamentary faction secretary Naira Zohrabyan said the faction would refrain from voting because of many contentious points in the relating bill.
Interestingly, the inquiry proposed by the opposition minority was rejected earlier this month by the ruling Republican Party of Armenia and its junior partner Orinats Yerkir (Country of Law) party.
Now the parliamentary majority offers to look into the caloric value of the Russian gas supplied to Armenian consumers, to study how the government accumulated $300 million debt to the national gas distribution company, to examine also alternative ways of natural gas imports and some other issues.
According to the bill, the deadline for the parliamentary panel to present the final report is November. The opposition factions disagreed with this.
On January 6, 2014, Armenia’s government ceded its 20 percent stake in the national gas distribution company ArmRosGazprom (ARG) to Russian Gazprom for $156 million to repay half of the $300 million debt. Another half of the debt was written off by the Russian monopoly.
Under an agreement with the Armenian government, Gazprom is to deliver to Armenia 2.5 billion cubic meters of gas annually.
ArmRosGazprom was established in December 1997. It dealt with transportation, storage, distribution and sale of natural gas in Armenia. On February 25 ArmRosGzprom was officially renamed Gazprom Armenia. -0-