Teheran, July 10 - Neftegaz.RU.
The Armenian and Iranian governments are exploring the possibility of expanding a swap arrangement allowing Armenia to import Iranian gas, said Deputy PM Mher Grigoryan, Armenian Azatutyun.am reported.
Under the commercial scheme launched a decade ago, Iran has supplied up to 500 million cu m of gas to Armenia annually. The latter pays for it with electricity delivered to the Islamic Republic.
The rest of Armenia’s gas imports totaling roughly 2 billion cu m per annum come from Russia. According to the current and former Armenian governments, Russian gas
has been cheaper, in monetary terms, for the South Caucasus state than Iranian gas.
Speaking after talks with Grigoryan held in Tehran, Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian said that his country is ready to increase the gas supplies and also accept other Armenian “goods” in payment for them.
Grigoryan confirmed that the Iranian side floated the idea during the talks. “We expect that a group of Iranian specialists will visit Yerevan soon and I think that discussions on this issue will continue.”
Grigoryan said the Armenian government is interested in greater gas supplies from Iran because it believes they could cut domestic prices of gas and electricity. He made clear that “the most desirable option” for Yerevan is to continue to pay for Iranian gas with electricity, rather than other goods.
Armenia is currently building a 3rd high-voltage transmission line that will connect Armenian and Iranian power grids. The new line, slated for completion next year, will allow it to almost triple power supplies to Iran.
The gas issue was high on the agenda of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s February 2018 visit to Iran. Speaking after talks with Pashinyan, Rouhani expressed Tehran’s readiness to sell more gas to Armenia.