Answering whether or not Georgia would switch to a financial payment system with Gazprom in exchange for use of its territory as a transit corridor, Giorgi Gakharia, Georgia’s Minister of Economy, said “everything is possible.”
9 days have passed since the expiration of the former contract with Russia’s gas giant on December 31. Georgia is currently receiving 10% of gas shipments transported through the country.
“We need to talk as much as we can with all sides, our main aim should be to have a diversified market and have as objectively set a price as possible, so that it contributes to the economic development of the country”, stated Gakharia.
On December 13, Kakha Kaladze had a meeting with Gazprom representatives in Vienna, however, they were unable to reach an agreement.
Last year, Russian energy giant Gazprom offered a deal in which Georgia would receive financial compensation for allowing the transport of natural gasses into Armenia instead of 10% of the transported material for free.
The direction of the negotiations changed in March 2016, when Kaladze and the President of Azerbaijan’s SOCAR, Rovnag Abdullayev, signed a contract increasing the amount of Azerbaijani gas to be delivered to Georgia.
Opinions regarding Gazprom’s offer were not unanimous in the lead up to the deal with Azerbaijan. The Minister of Energy of Russia spoke often of ultimatums, and hinted that Georgia may be strong - armed into agreeing to a deal.