KazTransGas Tbilisi Returned to Kazakhs
06 June, 2013
KazTransGas Tbilisi Returned to Kazakhs
After four years of suspension Kazakh management will be restored at KazTransGas Tbilisi, the Kazakh-owned gas distribution network of Georgian capital - Georgian and Kazakh governments agreed during a two-day meeting in Astana past week. Georgian side does not name the exact timelines when the management take-over will take place. It just promises the take-over will come “soon” and expects an inflow of Kazakh investments afterwards.
“KazTransGas Tbilisi (KTG Tbilisi) will be handed to Kazakh side soon,” Kakhi Kaladze, Minister
of Energy of Georgia, said in his interview from Astana to Imedi TV news channel on May 28, 2013. Afterwards additional Kazakh investments will enter Georgia, he said. Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili participated in this decision-making and hence forth Ministry of Energy will implement monitoring over KTG Tbilisi activity.
KazTransGas Tbilisi owned by the Kazakh national energy giant KazMunaiGas affiliated company KazTransGas is under control of temporary management at the moment assigned there by Georgian National Energy Regulatory Commission in March of 2009 until clearance of USD 40 million arrears the Company owed to the state owned Georgian Gas and Oil Corporation. However Astana perceived introduction of the temporary management as annexation of the company by previous Georgian authorities for the debt rather increased than decreased during four years in spite of milder payment terms given by the state to the temporary management.
After power shifted in Georgia past fall Astana immediately asked new authorities to return the seized assets to its legal owner of the Kazakh state company and Tbilisi promised to solve the issue but it lingered for several months unsettled up to May and the temporary management expiring on May 1st of 2013 was prolonged twice to June 1st of 2013 initially and then to June of 2014 as far as Tbilisi could not make its political decision until sides met in Astana by end of this past May. However as energy regulatory commission explains it cannot create any problems to immediate restoration of Kazakh management as soon as governmental decision will be made. Kazakh side made clear that it was ready to either decision whether to withdraw from Georgia or stay – depending on the political and legal decision of Tbilisi over the disputed KTG Tbilisi take-over. To research the issue properly sides agreed that delegation of KazMunaiGas will arrive in Tbilisi soon. However Georgian ministry of energy still cannot name even tentative timelines when the Kazakh delegation is expected in Tbilisi. Meantime Astana promised to restore the frozen Kazakh investment projects put on halt in Georgia after assignment of temporary management in KTG Tbilisi.
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