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Official News

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Government Discusses Gas Caloric Value Question: Relevant Commission To Be Established Under Prime Minister’s Instruction



Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan - Dear Colleagues, let us start today’s proceedings. The problem of gas caloric value (GCV) remains a priority concern to our society. Despite the fact that numerous explanations have been given by experts, there is still some doubt as to whether gas caloric value corresponds to data on record and that gas quality meets the standard. We must answer all these questions in an exhaustive manner. First of all, I would like to listen to Robert Nazarian in order to present the experts’ findings in a simple, easy-to-understand manner.

Public Services Regulatory Commission Chairman Robert Nazaryan - Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. You were right to note that recently both physical and legal entities have been complaining about gas quality in Armenia, stating in particular that the caloric value does not conform to the standard of 7900 kcal. We are trying to explain the mechanisms applicable today. Firstly, the caloric value is measured on the border. Besides, we have large economic entities in Armenia - Hrazdan TPP, Yerevan Thermal Power Plant, Ararat Cement Factory, which in their capacity of major gas consumers are interested in that the actual GCV should be the same as set forth in the standards, I have taken up the matter with the Armenian Employers’ Union.

I suggested our businesses pooling their resources to get a special laboratory, which has a market price ranging from USD 25000 to USD 60000. The meeting took place last May, but unfortunately, I can state with certitude that no action has been taken so far.

Due to this year’s severe winter, our greenhouse operators, too, are complaining about the calorie content of the imported gas. They used to consume twice as less gas to get the needed quantity of heat. However, I think it is conditioned by this winter’s severity.

To be more convincing, I feel we need to set up a Ministry of Economy-coordinated working group, involving experts from the National Academy of Sciences, as well as representatives from the Public Council, the Armenian Employers’ Union, non-governmental organizations, since concerns have been voiced recently that nitrogen is being removed from the content of natural gas to achieve inflated consumer gas volumes. This will help us understand what else could be done with this mechanism in order to increase public trust in natural gas caloric value. We are prepared to take a share in this effort along with the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. This is my suggestion.

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan - Well, Mr. Nazarian, the experts have submitted a finding to assert that it is impossible to make man-made changes to the GCV.

Public Services Regulatory Commission Chairman Robert Nazaryan – Yes, I see.

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan - Your proposal actually consists in that a commission should be set up involving NGOs so that the experts might get their comments and explanations through to the public at large.

Public Services Regulatory Commission Chairman Robert Nazaryan - This is the first component. Another component is to try to see what other tools could be introduced in the applicable mechanism so that the measurements would not be seen as somewhat biased and society would not blame us for partiality.

Specifically, although the National Institute of Metrology is indirectly involved in the process associated with the certification of laboratories, nevertheless, I think that another laboratory will have to be purchased for them so that they could implement measurements every 10 days like Hayrusgasard and put their findings on record through mass media. This is one way of addressing the situation. Here, I would not like to dwell on the other options as the role of the Commission is to submit to you a proposal on the steps to take in this direction.

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan - Well, in that case, Mr. Gabrielyan, I am instructing you to have a government decision drafted on the establishment of a Ministry of Economy-supervised commission, making sure that all interested non-governmental organizations submit participation bids covering those NGOs mentioned by Mr. Nazaryan and others, including from the energy sector and the ones protecting consumers’ rights - everybody desirous of participating in such activities.

Public Services Regulatory Commission Chairman Robert Nazaryan - Mr. Prime Minister, I would also like to see Ministry of Agriculture experts involved, considering that there is growing concern among the greenhouse operators.

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan - Mr. Nazaryan, please submit your proposals in writing specifying which organizations are appropriate to work in the working group, including the government agencies. We will take note of your recommendations in staffing the Commission. Mr. Shahverdyan, please take the floor.

Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Levon Shahverdyan - Mr. Prime Minister, the problem is that the given issue was raised in early 2000s, when I first was Director of Yerevangas, then served as Haygas Director. The bulk of the complaint used to come from the industrial hub of Hrazdan. I agree with Mr. Nazaryan’s proposal, because at that point, we had our measuring devices. We offered them to procure similar devices. All controversy vanished as soon as they started working. Therefore, I feel that the matter will be closed, if a lab like that is installed at a local industrial hub.

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan – Is it possible to have a mobile lab?

Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Levon Shahverdyan - Yes, of course, it is just a question of some 25-30 thousand U.S. dollars.

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan - Well, strong with a mobile lab, you will be supposed to respond to any call, make the appropriate measurements and introduce your findings to the public at large.
 

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