By Ani Paitjan
Armenia hosted the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council in Yerevan on April 30. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke at the meeting and stressed the significance of establishing uniform natural gas tariffs across the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
Armenia, a member state of the EAEU, assumes the presidency of the Union in 2019. EAEU is comprised of Armenia, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, integrating a single market and introducing the free movement of goods, capital, services and people.
''We attach importance to boosting this process aimed at a very delicate issue – the generation of gas prices in the EAEU states,'' said Pashinyan, adding that the creation of a single market for natural gas and oil products are among the priorities of the Union.
Armenia depends largely on Russia for gas. Gazprom Armenia, owned by the Russian gas giant Gazprom, possesses the natural gas pipeline network within Armenia and holds a monopoly over the import and distribution of natural gas to consumers and businesses.
Natural gas represents a large portion of the total energy consumption in Armenia, accounting for 50 percent, and is the primary means of heating in the country.
Currently, Armenia pays $150 per thousand cubic meters (tcm) of imported Russian gas.
In February, Pashinyan visited Iran, demonstrating his will to import more gas from the neighboring country. During the joint press conference, Pashinyan mentioned that Armenia is ready to be a transit country for Iranian gas.
"The establishment of an energy corridor is also of great importance both in bilateral and regional context,” Pashinyan said. “There is a political will to solve these issues and we should hope that the negotiations will be successful.”
According to Bedros Terzian, founder of Petrostrategies, a French think-tank specializing in global energy research, Armenia should diversify its gas sources and routes.
“It is very important for the security of supplies and for the improvement of negotiating positions,” said Terzian. “In addition, being a transit country brings in some transportation fees.”
Terzian added, however, that Armenia should emphasize developing renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind.
“These are clean energies and independent sources,” said Terzian.
Armenia Must Diversify Its Gas Sources and Routes
Armenians Won’t See Increase in Gas Tariffs Yet