YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–In an exclusive interview–Irakliy Shekridze–an energy expert of the Georgian Parliament–attached particular importance to the regional integration of the energy systems of the South Caucasus. According to him–besides the problems of restoring ties in the sphere of electric power–which is considered to be of high importance–much significance is also given to the gas sector–which is believed to be a major trend of integration.
"I think that in a long term perspective it will turn out that the widely publicized priority of oil against gas does not correspond to the real state of affairs: In reality–gas will prevail," Shekridze contended.
Though the expert does not doubt that the regional system of oil pipe-lines will continue to further develop–he believes that from the point of view of energy resources–the next 20-30 years will be a gas age. The existing resources of gas in Turkmen’stan–Azerbaijan–Russia and Iran–as well as the Demand for this type of fuel existing in the West and Turkey have favorably intermixed in the Caucasus. Thus–Shekridze believes that there has emerged a favorable situation for the countries of the South Caucasus–which possess a well-developed network of gas pipe-lines and are situated in the zone of high competition. According to some estimations–the balance of natural gas on the level of consumption of primary resources will be 60 percent in Georgia in a long-term perspective. The Georgian specialist predicts about the same situation also in Armenia and Azerbaijan.