Assa-Irada, Azerbaijan
Dec 1 2004

Construction of Iran-Armenia gas pipeline starts


Construction of the Armenian section of the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline
started on Tuesday.
Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and Iranian Energy
Minister Habibola Bitaraf met in Suyinik province of Armenia to
consider the issue. The Iranian delegation will hold meetings in
Yerevan on Wednesday to continue discussions on the project.
The 41km-long Armenian section of the 72mm-diameter gas pipe with a
total length of 141 kilometers, due to be commissioned by 2007, will
be constructed by Iran's Sanir firm. The gas to be transported
through the pipeline is earmarked only to meet Armenia's domestic
demand.
The construction of the Armenian section will be financed on a $30
million loan to be allocated by an Iranian bank under the agreement
reached during Iranian State Minister's visit to Armenia this July.
Iran will spend $100 million to construct the 100-km section of the
pipeline in its territory.
The agreement to build the gas pipeline was signed by Iran and
Armenia in 1992 and a map-plan of the pipe route approved in 1995.
Under the agreement, Iran will annually supply 500 million cu m of
gas to Armenia starting in 2007. The figure will reach 1.2 billion cu
m in 2010. Armenia, in turn, will supply electricity to Iran in the
future.
Meanwhile, there were reports saying that Iran intends to transport
its gas to European markets through Armenia. The issue was discussed
during the last visit by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to
Armenia as well.
The Iranian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Afshar Suleymani said that the
Iranian side has not forwarded any proposals to Armenia, which
imports Russian gas through Georgia, and wants to buy the Iranian gas
as well. It is still to be determined through which country the
Iranian gas will be transported and analysis is under way to choose
the economically viable route, Suleymani underlined.
`Europe is keen on importing Iran's gas. Iranian gas may be taken to
Europe via two routes: either through Turkey and Greece or via
Armenia and Ukraine,' the ambassador said.
Touching upon transportation of the Iranian gas through Azerbaijan,
Suleymani said that the Azerbaijani side has not made a proposal in
this regard.
`If Azerbaijan puts forth a relevant proposal, Iran will approve it,
as a pipeline exists which used to take Iranian gas to Georgia and
Russia through Azerbaijan in the Soviet times,' he added.*