Armenia is in full boom. The Caucasus country of 3.3 million people is reaping the rewards of development in Energy. Despite not producing gas or oil, energy exports are one of the most important factors in Armenia’s increasingly well-fed economy.
But it has not always been so. Just after its independence in 1991, the country suffered a huge energy crisis. Households had only 14 minutes of electricity a day.
Then ArmRusGazprom was set up, a subsidiary of the Russian energy giant, joint owned by Armenia, Russia and the US. Boss Karen Karpapetyan explains that the market had to be liberalised: “We in Armenia know we can’t rely on anyone but ourselves for Energy. We’re now building the Armenia-Iran pipeline and we’re renewing our gas storage.”
In the next two years major repairs are to be carried out on the country’s energy network. 300 million euros will be invested. With the transport of Russian gas currently a major issue for Europe, Armenia is looking to capitalise on the strategic importance of the Caucasus region.
It’s looking to benefit from the TransCaspian pipeline, which may be open by 2011.
With investment meaning more sophisticated technology, Armenia hopes to lead the way in taking Russian gas imports and turning it into a reliable source of electricity.