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    Armenia, Russia to complete gas price talks soon - Armenian PM

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    YEREVAN, February 9 (RIA Novosti) - Armenia and Russia will conclude their talks on the price of Russian natural gas delivered to the republic in February, the Armenian prime minister said Thursday.

    Andranik Markaryan said the talks were not contingent on the diameter of the gas pipeline Iran and Armenia were building.

    Russia earlier agreed to postpone increasing natural gas prices for Armenia until April 1, 2006. Russia intends to raise the price of natural gas delivered to the republic from the current $56 per 1,000 cu m to $110 in accordance with its strategy to switch to European market prices in all deals with the former Soviet republics.

    An Armenian news agency said the building of the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline was estimated at $120 million.

    The construction of the first Armenian strip Megri-Kadjaran of the Iran-Armenia gas trunk pipeline began November 30, 2004. Iranian company Sanir will build the remaining strip to Yerevan. Armenia and Iran plan to commission the gas pipeline with a length of 141km (41km across Armenia and 100km across Iran) in 2007.

    The gas pipeline is designed to have a diameter of 700mm, but both countries could expand it to 1,500mm to pump up to 27-30 billion cu m of gas through it annually.

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