Turkey is now working on allocating a part of its gas share from Azerbaijan’s Shah-Deniz field to Georgia, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after talks with the Georgian and Azerbaijani leaders in Tbilisi on February 7.
“We are doing our best to allocate 800 million cubic meters of gas to Georgia from the Turkish share by this July. This is our promise,” Erdogan said at joint news conference in Tbilisi with the Georgian and Azerbaijani leaders.
But President Saakashvili said at the same news conference that Georgia will start receiving Turkey’s share of gas as soon as Shah-Deniz is put into operation.
“First, I want to say that we will be receiving Turkey’s quota as soon as Shah-Deniz is put into operation. At the same time Azerbaijan will gradually increase gas supplies to Georgia. This means that the share of more reliable and cheaper gas in Georgia’s gas consumption balance will increase,” Saakashvili said.
Tbilisi has already been trying for months to convince Turkey to give up part of its Shah-Deniz gas quota in order to reduce Georgia's dependence on expensive Russian gas, but a final agreement has not yet been reached.
According to Turkish media reports, Ankara is hesitating on the deal because it already has commitments to deliver part of its Shah-Deniz quota to Italy and Greece.
The Turkish Prime Minister also noted at the press conference in Tbilisi that Turkey, like Georgia and Azerbaijan, faces certain problems in energy supplies.
“But it is important to solve these problems based on solidarity between these three countries,” PM Erdogan said.
President Saakashvili noted at the news conference that the most important thing is that the three countries have managed to put into operation an alternative energy supply route.
“This is an alternative route for Europe [to transport] oil and gas… That is why we call this cooperation [between the three countries] historic,” Saakashvili added.
The three leaders signed the Tbilisi declaration on common vision for regional cooperation.
The transport ministers from Azerbaijan and Turkey and the economy minister of Georgia also signed an agreement on the construction of the Baku-Akhalkalaki-Kars railway.
Azerbaijan and Georgia signed an additional agreement envisaging the allocation of a USD 200 million loan to the Georgian side for construction and rehabilitation of its section of the Baku-Akhalkalaki-Kars railway.