Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli said Georgia has to import expansive gas from Russia as Shah-Deniz gas supplies will be delayed because of “technical problems.”
“You know that we were expecting to launch the transmission of Shah-Deniz gas on December 22, but it was postponed because of technical reasons - the gas pumping station has been damaged… Restoration may take weeks,” PM Nogaideli said at a second news conference on late on December 22.
He said that because of this problem, Georgia has to import gas from Russia for USD 235 per 1000 cubic meters starting from January, 2007.
But he said that the government will spare no efforts to make this price hike less painful for households.
“For this reason I have requested the Parliamentary Chairperson [Nino Burjanadze] to postpone discussing the draft of the 2007 state budget in Parliament from December 27 to December 29, as we have to make some amendments in the draft,” PM Nogaideli said.
Less than two hours before this statement, PM Nogaideli said at another news conference that Georgia was expecting to receive about 70% of its gas needs from Azerbaijan’s Shah-Deniz field.
After these remarks news broke that Gazprom has signed contracts with three companies in Georgia on the delivery of 1,1 billion cubic meters of gas in 2007 – an amount that is more than half of Georgia’s annual gas consumption.
“Your know my opinion, that I am against subsidizing an increased gas price, but the government has a position that it is necessary to undertake some steps to protect the most socially vulnerable people,” Georgian State Minister for Economic Reforms Kakha Bendukidze said on December 22.