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Monday, November 27, 2006

Gazprom to cut natural gas exports to Azerbaijan by 66.7% in 2007

MOSCOW, November 22 (RIA Novosti) - Gazprom [RTS: GAZP], Russia's energy giant, said Wednesday it intended to reduce natural gas exports to Azerbaijan in 2007 by 66.7%, to 1.5 billion cubic meters, against 4.5 billion cubic meters in 2006. "Gazprom intends to reduce next year the volume of natural gas deliveries to Azerbaijan to 1.5 billion cubic meters," Sergei Kupriyanov, a spokesman for Gazprom, said. "This volume will fully meet Azerbaijan's demand for imported natural gas, taking into account the price increase for Russian natural gas imports and the natural gas production increase in Azerbaijan," he said. Azerbaijan has been in talks on deliveries of natural gas to Georgia, which last week rejected purchases of Russian gas due to the price increase. "Azerbaijan is preparing to export its own natural gas," Kupriyanov said. "We are not against competition, but it is not expedient for Gazprom to support it [the competition] at the expense of its own resources." According to agreements between Georgia and Gazprom, the gas price in 2006 was $110 per 1,000 cubic meters. Gazprom recently suggested that Georgia pay $230 per 1,000 cubic meters of Russian natural gas as of 2007. The Georgian leader said the price hike for Russian natural gas was politically motivated and that the move amounts to an economic blockade of Georgia, which now buys all of its gas from Gazprom. A Georgian energy official said November 2 that his country is in talks with a consortium that is developing a gas field in Azerbaijan to ensure alternative gas deliveries, and that buying gas from Iran and Azerbaijan is being considered.

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