Payvand, Iran
March 31 2004

Armenia, Iran to sign gas pipeline accord early April

Yerevan, March 30, Itar-Tass/ACSNA/IRNA -- Negotiations with Iran
regarding the construction of a gas pipeline to Armenia reached the
final stage, Armenian Energy Minister Armen Movsesyan said on
Tuesday.

The sides have already reached accords on the main technical
parameters of the pipeline.

Iranian oil minister is expected to arrive in Yerevan in early April
to sign an agreement on building of a gas pipeline, Movsesyan said.

According to the minister, the construction, due to begin later this
year, will last 20 months and to be completed in 2006. Either country
will be fully responsible for laying its stretch of the pipeline.

According to preliminary estimates, the Armenian section will cost
dlrs 100 million to lay, and the Iranian stretch, slightly more.

According to the draft agreement, Iran will deliver gas to Armenia in
amounts sufficient only for the country`s domestic consumption,
Movsesyan said.

The question of extending the pipeline farther to carry Iranian gas
to Europe was not considered, contrary to allegations by some mass
media.

The gas pipeline from Iran will ensure continuous gas supply to
Armenia and enhance its energy security. So far Armenia has received
gas by the sole pipeline from Russia.