Georgia Eager to Achieve Full Liberalization of Market: Interview with Georgian Energy Minister

Georgia Eager to Achieve Full Liberalization of Market: Interview with Georgian Energy Minister

Kazakhstan, Astana, 30 June / corr Trend K.Konirova / Trend correspondent's excusive interview with Alexander Khetaguri, the Georgian energy minister.

Question: What was the objective of your visit to Astana?

Answer: This is my first visit to capital of Kazakhstan after appointment as the Energy Minister. I had meetings with the leadership of the state holding Samruk, which focused on electric power of Georgia. We have particular changes in this sector and the liberalization of this market is underway. We have many projects, which might be interesting for Kazakh investors.

Question: The issue of new pipeline routes which run in parallel to the routes Baku-Batumi, Baku-Supsa, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan is on focus both in Azerbaijan and in Kazakhstan. Which of them is more real?

Answer: Georgia is a transit country. The Great Silk Route ran via our territory. We have repeatedly confirmed our potential. The BTC, the Baku-Tbilisi - Erzerum and the Baku-Supsa run via Georgia and they transport not only liquid, but also dry cargo by rail. Along with existing oil and gas pipelines, we also have a potential for construction of new ones. It will be possible to speak about them only in case the oil producing companies are interested in it. The attractiveness and profitability of BTC and the Baku-Supsa at current oil prices is unquestionable, so even new pipelines with increase of volume of hydrocarbons to the Central Asia, Caspian region will be inevitably profitable.

I want to stress that all projects are vital and have good prospects.

Question: To what extent do you regard actual the construction of new oil and gas pipelines via the territory of Georgia for the transportation of hydrocarbons from the Caspian? Where is the final destination of these routes - in Georgia, as earlier, or Turkey? Could Georgia become an original regional 'hub' for transportation of big oil and gas volumes via the Black Sea to Europe and particularly, to Ukraine?

Question: We are striving for it. There are all preconditions for it. How we transport gas and electric power from north to south and from the east to west. All flows pass the territory of Georgia. This is the 'hub'.

As far as you know, the Georgian oil and gas corporation together with SOCAR (the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan - Trend ) and Ukrainian, Polish and Lithuanian counterparts established Sarmatia company, which targets the development of the route from Odessa to Brody and onwards to Gdansk. It is another alternative route, which can be fulfilled with Caspian oil.

Question: Presently too much is spoken about the development of the Caucasus corridor while dealing with the problematic talks on expansion of the CPC ...

Answer: Undoubtedly, interest towards the Baku-Supsa which has an exit to the Black Sea export route increases in this term. Interests towards all Georgian ports including Batumi and Kulevi rises because of increase of oil volumes from the Caspian Sea region which are to be delivered to the Europe.

Following the purchase of the Romanian company Rompetrol by KazMunayGas, it will be profitable for Kazakh oil producing companies to transport oil to Romania and refine them at the Romanian oil refinery plants, belonging to Rompetrol. There is not any alternative route for crude delivery to Romania via Georgia to the Black Sea.

The popularity of the Black sea route running via Georgia will increase by years. I think in future there will be a need to expand the capacity of this corridor.

Question: Presently they speak about rivalry between Baku-Supsa and BTC ...

Answer: I think rivalry at the market is very good and all are striving for market relations. The rule of market dictates that oil will run to the direction where much is paid.

Following increase of oil resources, more and more oil volumes will be attracted to the transportation via the Caucasus direction. As to the inner competition between Baku-Supsa and BTC, all will depend whose crude will be pumped via the pipeline.

Should the oil producing companies or traders sell oil in the Black Sea ports, they will be interested in the first oil pipeline, but if in the Mediterranean Sea ports the in Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan.

Question: It was reported that in the near future Kazakhstan intends to increase volume of transportation via Batumi. What was the solution to transit tariffs?

Answer: I have no idea about the attitudes of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, but the tariffs are equal for all in our territory and there is not any problem in transit via the territory of Georgia. I think there should not be any problem between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

Question: It is dealt with a terminal in Batumi, which is owned by Kazakhstan and will be given to the management of Rompetrol, whoso 75% of stock was purchased by the national company of Kazakhstan - KazMunayGas. What is Georgia's view in this connection?

Answer: No problem. Everything is liberal in the country. There is an owner of the facility and he has all rights to give it management to anyone. The Georgian Government does not interfere in the property management in its territory. Therefore, we carried out liberalization of state property so that the development could go in accordance with the rules of market. So, if it is profitable for owner, let it so.

The correspondent can be contacted at [email protected]

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