THE IRAN-ARMENIA GAS PIPELINE: UNFINISHED BUT ALREADY IN GAZPROM'S SIGHTS
By M. Alkhazashvili

The Messenger, Georgia
April 26 2006

The Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vardan Oskanian is not
ruling out the sale of the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline to Russia,
he stated in Yerevan on April 20.

Although he added that, "talking of the fate of the gas pipeline is
ridiculous because it has yet to be constructed." Oskanian thinks
that it would be more logical if there is a discussion about who
will invest in the construction of this state asset as they could
then become the owner the newspaper Rezonansi reports.

The Armenian Minister of Energy Armen Movsisian stated that the
construction of the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline has not been finished
yet and accordingly it is not a corporate enterprise of which shares
can be sold.

However the Armenian Ex-Premier Vazgen Manukian once mentioned that
a 45 kilometer part of the pipeline had already been sold, although
Armenian governmental representatives rejecting the claim that they
are planning to sell the pipeline to Russian Gazprom.

On April 6, 2006 Gazprom published information about a 25 year-term
agreement, which had been drawn up and signed between Armenia
and Gazprom. According to one of the articles of the agreement,
the Armenian side takes responsibility for the sale of the 40
kilometer-long segment of the Iran-Armenia pipeline, which is currently
under construction as well as the 5th energy unit of Hrazdan Thermal
Power Station to the joint company ArmRosgasprom, Regnum reports.

Later, however, Gazprom spread a new round of information in which
nothing was mentioned about the gas pipeline.

The total length of the Armenian section of the Iran-Armenia pipeline
is 141 kilometers. The price of the project totals some USD 120
million and the pipeline's construction should be completed by 2007.