Azerbaijan parliament ratifies gas pipeline pact with Georgia

Oct 26, 2001 02:00 AM

Azerbaijan's parliament ratified a pact signed last month with Georgia for construction of a $ 1 bn (1.1-bn-euro) pipeline to export natural gas from the Caspian Sea to Turkey. The agreement, signed September 30 by Azerbaijan President Geidar Aliyev and his Georgian counterpart, Eduard Shevardnadze, was approved by 98 of the parliament's 125 members.

The 900 km (550-mile) pipeline from Baku via Georgia to Erzurum, in Turkey, will provide a much-needed export route for natural gas reserves in the massive Shah Deniz field off the coast of Azerbaijan. It is also politically significant because under the deal Georgia can siphon off 5 % of the gas transported along the pipeline for its own energy needs.
Analysts said this will loosen Georgia's political dependence on Moscow, since the country at the moment gets almost all its gas from Russia and has its supply cut off intermittently.

Source: AFP
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