Regional Synergy: Armenia, Iran, Georgia, Russia discuss establishing “energy corridor”

According to political analysts, abrupt turns of the geopolitical developments exacerbate relations between countries in the region, as a result of which Armenia needs to pursue a policy in favor of its own interests.

Specialist in oriental studies Rudik Yaralyan, referring to Iran-Azerbaijan and Iran-Turkey tensions, indicates that an opportunity is being created for Armenia to become Iran’s main partner. He recalls Iran’s first Vice President Eshab Jahangir’s statement during a visit to Armenia: “Iran considers Armenia as a major transit country.”

Earlier this week, in Yerevan, discussions were held and a memorandum of understanding was signed by the energy ministers of Armenia, Iran and Georgia, as well as by the head of Russian Networks Company. According to the memorandum, the four sides have agreed to establish a Coordinating Group, which will work towards the establishment of an energy corridor linking the four countries.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, a 400/500 kilowatt power transmission line between Armenia and Georgia is scheduled to be put into operation by 2018, as a result of which, electricity exchange capacity with Georgia will amount to 700 mw in 2021.

The third Iran-Armenia 400 kW high-voltage line is expected to be completed in 2018. The construction began in August. When it is finished the exchange of electricity between the two neighbors will amount to 1,200 mw.

Areg Galstyan, deputy minister of the Energy and Natural Resources, told media that only in that case can they fully implement the current agreement, according to which, Armenia gets natural gas, and sends electricity to Iran instead of it, bringing that number, according to the contract, up to 6.9 billion kWh of electricity. According to the deputy minister, the current volume is within a range of 1.2 billion.

Yaralyan believes that the current meetings concerning energy cooperation and agreements on the format of Iran-Armenia-Georgia-Russia will have a significant role in the future. He says that after the complete lifting of sanctions against Iran, Armenia can turn into capital the trust it has accumulated over the years of relationship with Iran.

Iranian Energy Minister Hamid Chitchiani, who co-chairs the Armenian-Iranian intergovernmental commission, during the meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan, said that he is confident that the close cooperation and contacts between the governments of the two countries will contribute to the effective and successful implementation of all projects.

“[The quadrilateral memorandum on energy cooperation] will ensure the economic profitability, contribute to regional energy security, ensure and transit sustainable energy network,” said Hamid Chitchiani.

At the meeting with President Serzh Sargsyan, the Iranian Energy Minister stressed the importance of the promotion of trade and economic relations and the need to use the full potential of the sector.

Referring to regional cooperation issues, they stated that the North-South power project is becoming a reality, which implies adequate systems’ parallel work between Iran, Armenia, Georgia and Russia. Minister Chitchiani, referring to the quadrilateral meeting between the above mentioned countries’ energy sector representatives, said that it is an important and efficient step in terms of solidarity of those countries of the region, and imparts a new quality to the development of a bilateral as well as multilateral cooperation framework.