Georgia's president comments on Gas Price

Georgia Materials 31 January 2007 14:53

(www.civil.ge) - President Saakashvili said at the government session on January 31 that gas prices should not increase during the winter period.

We should not increase the gas price because these months are most difficult, especially for socially vulnerable residents, Saakashvili said.

Georgia is receiving most of its gas from Gazprom at USD 235 per 1000 cubic meters, while only one-eighth of its gas needs is coming from Azerbaijan at USD 120.

Currently Georgia receives gas from two sources: from Azerbaijan вЂ" we want to increase the share of Azeri gas in our energy balance вЂ" and from Russia. We pay a political price for the Russian gas, reports Trend.

The only aim [of Russia's decision to more than double the gas price in 2007] was to hit a blow to Georgian families. The government should spare no efforts to ease this blow, so in the winter we are not increasing price and we are trying to increase the share of cheap gas [in the country energy balance] as much as possible, Saakashvili said.

We should decrease the effect of the Russian gas increase as much as possible for the majority of our population, including for socially vulnerable people, Saakashvili added.

The Georgian Energy Regulatory Commission was to discuss the applications submitted by KazTransGaz-Tbilisi, the Kazakh state-owned company distributing gas in the capital city Tbilisi, and Itera-Georgia, a subsidiary of the Russian company Itera that distributes gas to the Georgian regions, regarding the increase in gas tariffs on January 31; however, the discussion was postponed for February 7.