(Itar-Tass) - Georgia will not pay the political gas price set by Gazprom, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has said in an interview with CNN. Russia has raised the gas price, explaining it by market principles, but I assure you that the suggested price (230 dollars per 1,000 cubic metres of gas) has nothing to do with economic calculations. It is a political price.
We are well prepared for the winter. The existence of alternative sources of gas imports gives up grounds for optimism. We are holding active talks and are pinning special hope on gas imports from Azerbaijan (from the Shah Deniz off-shore gas field), Saakashvili said, reports Trend.
Last winter Georgia imported gas from Iran for some time after an explosion at the Mozdok-Tbilisi gas pipeline. Georgian officials kept secret the price terms of gas deliveries from Iran, until Nejad Hoseinian, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister in charge of international affairs, spoke openly about it. According to his information, Teheran signed a contract with Tbilisi on the export of 30 million cubic metres of gas at a price of some 233 dollars.
Shortly before Hoseinian made his statement, Saakashvili said, commenting on the gas contract with Iran, that the gas price is very much acceptable for Georgia.
Georgia needs 1.8 billion cubic metres of gas for its gas consumers. Russia is the chief supplier of gas for it. Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli said recently that gas imports from Russia might be reduced in 2007 to one fifth of the current amount, if the parties failed to reach agreement on the gas price. At present Georgia imports gas from Russia at a price of 110 dollars per 1,000 cubic metres