Gazprom to establish joint venture in Georgia

Gazprom, Russia's natural gas monopoly, sets up a joint venture, GruzRosGazprom, in Georgia, company CEO Alexei Miller said Wednesday after a meeting with Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze and Alexander Gotsiridze, president of the Georgian international gas corporation.

"The relative agreement will be inked in a month's time," said Miller. The document will stipulate the transportation and delivery of gas to Georgia, where it will be distributed between the end consumers.

Gazprom has long-term interests in Georgia and guarantees earlier agreed-upon volumes of gas supplies, said the Gazprom chief.

Under the agreement, Gazprom is to restore the trunk gas pipeline from Russia to Georgia. He did not specify the amount of investment to be made in the restoration effort, saying it would huge enough.

In Western experts' estimate, 250 million dollars will have to be invested in the Georgian leg of the Russia-Georgia gas main. Its annual throughput will be 16 billion cubic meters of gas.

Gazprom hopes to reimburse the sum rather soon through gas sales. The price of natural gas will be reasonable and affordable for Georgian consumers, added Miller.

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