Georgia hopes to reach an agreement with Baku to increase volumes of Azeri gas imported to the country by additional 400-500mcm/year, Georgia’s Energy Minister, Kakha Kaladze, said, Trend News Agency reported.

Georgia has been in negotiations with a consortium of Shah Deniz –the largest natural gas field in Azerbaijan– for several months discussing an increase of the volume of Azerbaijani gas supplies. According to an expert quoted by Trend, there is no alternative to Azerbaijani gas for Georgia, considering its affordable price and the fact that Azerbaijan is the country’s strategic partner. Currently, in search for new routes, Georgia has held talks with Russia’s Gazprom requesting the company to pay for Russian gas transit to Armenia in money as Russian gas deliveries to Georgia are carried out only in the form of payment for its transits. Georgia is thus supplied with merely 10% of total shipments.

If the negotiations between Baku and Tbilisi are not successful, Georgia’s growing demand in gas supplies during the winter season will be met through other channels, such as Iran. Some sources informed, however, that President of Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR has already told media that Azerbaijan will supply additional 500mcm/year of gas to Georgia, according to PanArmenian.

In addition, Georgia, together with Turkey, is expected to become a transit country for the shipment of 10bcm of Azeri gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe within the currently debated Southern Gas Corridor project.