As the price of natural gas keeps declining, competition among Caspian Basin suppliers is picking up.
Georgia, which serves as a crossroads for Caspian Basin energy exports, has become the focal point of a three-way scramble among natural gas exporters. Citing a wintertime shortage of natural gas, Tbilisi is considering deals from Azerbaijan, which already supplies 90 percent of Georgia’s gas; Russia, which provides the other 10 percent as a fee for transiting Russian energy to Armenia; and, now, Iran.
Georgia’s selection could have long-term implications. Diversifying Georgia’s gas supplies would mean moving away from Azerbaijan, the energy power behind the Southern Gas Corridor, an upcoming mega-gas-export tube that crosses Georgian territory en route to Turkey and Europe. Both the European Union and the United States have promoted the corridor as a way to wean Europe off gas imports from Gazprom, Russia’s energy behemoth, and an economic tool often used by the Kremlin for geopolitical purposes.
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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance journalist based in Tbilisi. He is a frequent contributor to EurasiaNet.org's Tamada Tales blog.