Georgia, New Caucasian Importer of Iranian Gas

Georgia, New Caucasian Importer of Iranian Gas Georgia, New Caucasian Importer of Iranian Gas

Tehran and Tbilisi are negotiating a plan to start gas exports to Georgia, the managing director of National Iranian Gas Export Company said.

"Under the plan, Armenia is to receive Iranian gas at its border with Iran and will deliver it to its neighboring Georgia," Alireza Kameli was quoted as saying by IRNA.

Stressing that bilateral talks are underway, the official said to finalize the plan, it should be economically viable.

Asked on the probable gas delivery to European countries via Georgia, Kameli denied gas exports through pipelines but said LNG exports are possible.

Hamidreza Araqi, the head of the National Iranian Gas Company, said last month that supplying gas via pipelines of large diameters is justified for a distance of up to 3,000 kilometers.

Officials in the past few months have stressed that gas export through pipelines is not a priority.

"What we are negotiating is to deliver gas to Georgia's power plants and supplying it to Europe is not part of our talks," Kameli said. According to the official, the volume of exports to Georgia will be 300-500 million cubic feet per day.

Iran is the fourth biggest producer and the fourth biggest consumer of natural gas in the world. It produced 173 billion cubic meters of gas in 2014, the most after the United States, Russia and neighboring Qatar.

Data show the Persian Gulf country holds an estimated 33 trillion cubic meters of gas, making it the holder of the world's largest proven reserves.

Iran exports natural gas via pipelines to three neighboring countries, namely Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Ankara receives more than 90% of Iran’s gas exports under a long-term contract, and Yerevan and Baku receive around 6% and 3% of Iran’s natural gas exports, respectively, under swap agreements.

If the plan becomes a reality, Georgia would be the last Caucasian state, after Armenia and Azerbaijan, to import gas from Iran.