YEREVAN, November 8 (RIA Novosti) – Armenia and Iran are discussing joint projects to build a rail link and an oil products pipeline, Armenian Energy Minister Armen Movsisyan said on Thursday.
“I’ll see together with [Iranian Energy Minister Majid] Namjou that the implementation of these two major programs currently at the stage of working discussions begins as soon as possible,” Movsisyan said.
Movsisyan and Namjou are co-chairmen of the Armenian-Iranian inter-governmental commission on economic cooperation.
“The implementation of these two projects will raise the level of economic cooperation between the two countries,” Movsisyan said.
Armenia and Iran initially planned to start the construction of the oil products pipeline in 2011 and finish it in 2014. The pipeline will deliver gasoline and diesel fuel from Iranian refineries and other Persian Gulf countries to the Armenian town of Yeraskh via Iran’s Tabriz
The pipeline will allow Armenia to import petroleum products from the Persian Gulf region at exchange-traded prices that are much lower than European market prices and considerably cut transport expenses compared with transportation by rail.
Armenia will invest $100 million to finance pipeline construction on its territory.
The North-South (Iran-Armenia) railway will allow Armenia to use an alternative route for the transportation of energy products and other commodities and gain access to external markets.
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).