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    RUSSIAN GAS SUPPLIES TO GEORGIA MAY NOT BE REDUCED

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    MOSCOW, March 15, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Gazprom, a Russian natural gas company, will not reduce natural gas deliveries to Georgia yet, a Gazprom spokesman said Monday.

    Gazprom will not reduce natural gas deliveries to Georgia yet as there are negotiations on the repayment of Georgian debts to Gazprom for natural gas deliveries.

    It was reported earlier that natural gas deliveries to Georgia could be cut in half beginning on March 15 because Tbilgazi, a Georgian company, owed money to Gazexport.

    The Tbilisi gas distributing company owes $7.4 million to Gazprom in debt and if Tbilgazi pays $2.5 million in the next few days, the natural gas deliveries to Georgia will remain at the current level. Presently, 1.7 million cubic meters of natural gas are shipped to Tbilisi daily.

    Last week General Director of Tbilgazi Nodar Gobianidze reported that the "reason for this debt was a lack of funding from the Georgian government and the mayor of Tbilisi. They should supply the company with means to pay for the natural gas consumed by the socially unprotected level of the population and the Government."

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