YEREVAN, October 20 (RIA Novosti) - Armenia is expected to import Russian natural gas at $180 per 1,000 cubic meters from April 2010 instead of the projected $200 following a preliminary agreement, Armenian gas pipeline operator ArmRosgazprom said on Tuesday.
An agreement for natural gas supplies for 2009-2015 reached between ArmRosgazprom and Gazprom export, the export arm of Russian energy giant Gazprom, stipulated a gradual increase in the price of Russia's natural gas for the South Caucasus republic.
The price was $110 per 1,000 cubic meters until March 2009, $154 per 1,000 cubic meters from April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010 and was expected to rise to $200 from April 1, 2010.
"The price of Russian natural gas for Armenia at $180 per 1,000 cubic meters is unprecedented. Negotiations with Gazprom are continuing and, following global changes in gas and oil prices, there is a possibility of its review, but we are preparing our strategy proceeding from this price,"
Karen Karapetyan said.
Armenian-Russian joint gas venture ArmRosgazprom has a monopoly on Russian gas supplies and distribution in Armenia. Russian energy giant Gazprom controls 75.55% in the joint venture, the Armenian government holds a 20% stake, and Russia's Itera company another 4.44%.
Karapetyan said that by yearend annual gas consumption in Armenia was expected to have declined by 15%.
"Although we have registered a 22% decline on the gas consumption market, this figure will be about 15% by the end of the year," he said.
Natural gas supplies to Armenia contracted 14.8% in January-June 2009 to 938.8 million cubic meters. In the first six months of the year. 867.7 million cubic meters of natural gas were sold in the republic or 14% less as compared with the same period last year.
At the same time, Karapetyan said that ArmRosgazprom financiers had organized optimal cash flow management allowing the company to carry out all its planned programs.