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Monday, January 30, 2006

Azerbaijan starts pumping Iranian gas to Georgia

BAKU, January 30 (RIA Novosti, Gerai Dadashev) - Azerbaijan started transporting Iranian natural gas to Georgia Monday, a spokesman for gas firm Azerigaz said. "The Iranian and Georgian sides have signed an agreement on the purchase and sale of gas, and our role envisions just the transit of relevant gas volumes," Kamandar Eivazly said, adding that Azerbaijan would pump 2 million cu m per day to Georgia. Deliveries began at 4:00 a.m. local time (1:00 a.m. GMT), he said. Eivazly said he had no information on either the terms of the Iranian gas supplies or on the cost of gas transit via Azerbaijan. Georgia's capital city of Tbilisi, together with much of the east of the country, was plunged into darkness in the early hours of Thursday, as a voltage fluctuation caused an almost total blackout. The power cut added to the Caucasus republic's energy woes, after explosions in southern Russia eight days ago cut off gas supplies and damaged another electricity line, leaving Georgia struggling for heating supplies amid record low temperatures. Russian engineers were repairing the pipelines, but severe weather was hampering their efforts. A spokesman for the Georgian International Gas Corporation said the gas would reach Georgia at 2:30 p.m. local time.

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