YEREVAN, December 27. / ARKA /. Speaking at a televised news conference today Armenian prime minister Tigran Sargsyan described the latest gas agreement with Russia as ‘successful.’
At an extraordinary parliamentary session on December 23 the pro-government majority ratified the gas agreement with Russia. The voting was ignored by lawmakers from the three opposition parties represented in the assembly (the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the Armenian National Congress and the Heritage) as well as by Prosperous Armenia Party.
The agreement signed during Russian president Vladimir Putin’s visit to Armenia December 2, formalized the sale of the Armenian government’s 20 percent stake in the national gas distribution company ArmRosGazprom (ARG) to Russia’s Gazprom monopoly. In return, Gazprom wrote off a $300 million debt which Armenia’s government had incurred as a result of subsidizing the price of Russian natural gas supplied to Armenia since 2011.
The agreement also stipulates that all successive Armenian governments cannot revise upward or downward the regulatory environment for ARG until January 2044.
According to the prime minister, the gas deal with Russia has given Armenia the opportunity to get gas on favorable terms and to secure citizens and businesses from price increases like the ones faced by Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus.
Tigran Sargsyan stressed that speculation around the content of the agreement was too high, pushing its essence to the background.
According to him, the essence is that over the next five years the price of gas in Armenia will be determined by a price formula used by Russia to determine the price for its domestic consumers. He said this translates into removing the 30 percent customs duty on shipment of Russian gas to Armenia.
He said under the deal ARG can not unreasonably raise prices, because all its decisions are to be reconciled and adjusted with the government.
"This is the best solution for us,’ he said. -0-