"If Georgia ever switches to alternative suppliers of oil products, it will be Europe," Vakhtang Iobashvili, Chairman of the Union of Oil Products Importers, said it on air of radio Commersant.
According to Iobashvili, amid fuel price hikes, "the Russian product is still relatively cheap. Thus, until we can supply the domestic market with Russian oil, we will not give up on Russia."
Speaking about the alternative of the Russian market, Vakhtang Iobashvili notes that the country bought fuel in Bulgaria, Romania, Greece.
"As for the European direction, it doesn't take much searching. „Rompetrol" company in Georgia is completely dependent on Romanian oil refineries. The company is owned by Kazakhstan. We also receive supplies from Bulgarian factories owned by Lukoil. "Euro 5" fuel is supplied from Bulgaria. We can consider a Greek market. We had proposals from Saudi Arabia, the price was acceptable, but transportation was too expensive that this option is not suitable for us. Products transported by sea are always more expensive than by train," Vakhtang Iobashvili points out.
The Union Chairman believes that the switch to the European market "will give us a price difference in the domestic market", but still it’s difficult to predict.
"We bought Romanian, Greek and Bulgarian fuel, but then we found a cheap one in Russia, that's why the Russian market accounted a large share in the total oil imports. "Switching to European fuel will give us a price difference in the domestic market, but it is difficult for oil-producing countries and oil exchanges to predict prices," Vakhtang Iobashvili says.