by Tatevik Shahunyan
The decision to build a new power unit of the Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) is positive, but any good decision should be carried out. If one fails to explain its expediency competently, certain difficulties arise, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said during a meeting with representatives of the Armenian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.
"For instance, everyone is interested in the gas price but today it is no more spoken about, because the tariff is fixed by the agreement with Gazprom and it is the lowest. Russia sells gas to no other country at such a low price. Moreover, the domestic consumers of Russia receive gas at such tariffs. We have spoken of it so much that everybody has realized that the gas tariffs will undergo no tangible changes within the next 5 years; even if they do, the growth will be no more than 5%, i.e. as much as the gas price growth for the Russian consumers", the President said. "Not only the citizens of Armenia, but also the foreign investors are aware of it and they are planning to move their power-consuming industries to Armenia with due regard for these realities", he said. "Moreover, they can export their products from Armenia to the Customs Union countries", he added.
Serzh Sargsyan also pointed out that Armenian citizens are concerned with the fact that Armenia receives the Russian gas on the border at the domestic Russian prices, but the citizens receive it at much higher tariffs. He stressed the need to make the public understand that the price is increased when the infrastructures are upgraded. "We should explain that if we fail to modernize the infrastructures and replace the equipment in time, we can come across serious problems tomorrow", he said.
The President welcomed the Armenian Parliament's initiative to set up an interim commission to study the gas prices. "We have nothing to conceal. Let the commission study the situation and present it to the public", he said.
To note, under the 2 Dec 2013 agreement between Armenia and Russia, Gazprom (Russia) became the sole owner of ArmRusgasprom CJSC by acquiring the Armenian Government's 20% stake in the company's capital. Gazprom will control the gas import till 2043. At present Armenia receives the Russian gas for $189 per 1,000 cu m on the border (at the Russian domestic tariffs) and gives it to the consumers for $393 per 1,000 cu m. In July 2013 the gas price for Armenian consumers rose by 30%.