BAKU, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Azerbaijan’s state oil group SOCAR said on Thursday it has acquired Itera-Georgia, enabling it to sell gas directly on the Georgian market except in the capital Tbilisi.
SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullaev told reporters that the cost of the acquisition was confidential but not large.
Itera-Georgia, a subsidiary of Itera International Energy, supplies around 300 million cubic metres of gas per annum to 100 enterprises in Georgia, including 38 regional gas distribution companies, of which Itera owns a controlling stake in 10.
SOCAR is Georgia’s main supplier of natural gas, as well as crude oil and oil products.
In the six years it has been present in Georgia, SOCAR has invested more than $1 billion.
SOCAR subsidiaries own an oil terminal in the Georgian port of Kulevi, have taken part in modernisation of the gas distribution system, and also are opening car repair centres under the SOCAR brand.
Abdullaev said that the recent change of government in Georgia would not change SOCAR’s position there.
He said that Georgia’s new Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili had met with the head of SOCAR’s Georgian subsidiary and the Azerbaijan ambassador “and values SOCAR’s investments in Georgia highly”. (Reporting by Lada Evgrashina, writing by Jason Bush, editing by William Hardy)