Gazprom, the Russian energy goliath, reportedly continues its shopping spree in Armenia; this time around, setting its eyes on the Caucasus country's power-distribution grid. Such a buy would get Gazprom closer to becoming the main source of light and heat in Armenia, second only to the sun.
If the deal is done, the electricity network will change hands from one Russian company, Inter RAO UES, to another. But then, Gazprom is, of course, not just another Russian company. It is the Kremlin’s magic wand for political clout and foreign policy.
As the main supplier of Armenia's natural gas and security (and possibly electricity), and its main trade partner, Russia, some fear, practically owns the country.
Armenia gets about one-third of its electricity from natural gas, according to the World Bank, so where else to go next but the national power company? But Armenian investigative service Hetq.am suggests that this is no recent move.
Inter RAO’s Armenian electricity network began posting losses in 2012. The company then blamed the slump on the hard-bargain price it had to pay for purchasing electricity from one of Gazprom-controlled thermal power plants in Armenia. That purchase may have contributed to Electric Networks of Armenia’s drift toward possible bankruptcy, Hetq claims.
Now, a lifesaver, of a sort, may be on the way. Sources told Forbes that Gazprom offered $50 million to Inter RAO for the Electric Networks of Armenia. Inter RAO has not confirmed talks with Gazprom, but said it would consider shedding its assets in Armenia for the right price.