BAKU, Azerbaijan, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Georgian Energy Minister Alexander Khetaguri signed an agreement with Azeri oil officials to establish a mechanism for gas imports from 2009, officials said.
Rovnag Abdullayev, president of the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan, and the Georgian energy minister signed a memorandum of understanding for gas supplies through a variety of subsidiaries, the Azerbaijan Business Center reporting agency said Monday.
The agreement has SOCAR selling gas to Georgia under a mechanism pegged to existing gas deliveries from the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan. The MOU also gives SOCAR access to gas distribution arteries in Georgia.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said the agreement will secure energy supplies to his country as well as create employment opportunities amid the possibility of a global recession.
"Within the framework of the 50-month program the government will be able to keep its promise and ensure 80 percent of gas supplies for the population," he said. "Regular gas supply will also allow opening of new enterprises and tackling of the unemployment problem."
Azerbaijan is a primary natural gas supplier to Georgia, with deliveries approaching 53 million cubic feet per day from SOCAR alone.