Armenia - Energy and power

With only negligible reserves of oil, natural gas, and coal, and with no production, Armenia is heavily reliant on foreign imports. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, oil consumption has declined from 48,400 barrels per day in 1992 to 4,000 barrels per day in 2001. Natural gas consumption in 2000 was 1.4 billion cu m (49 billion cu ft). Total electrical consumption in 2000 was 4.9 billion kWh.

Net electricity generation in 2000 totaled 6.2 billion kWh, primarily from the reopened Medzamor nuclear plant at Yerevan (815,000 kW capacity), the Hrazdan (near Akhta) oil/natural gas plant (1,110,000 kW capacity), the Yerevan heat/power plant (550,000 kW capacity), and the Sevan-Hrazdan hydroelectric plant and smaller plants (925,000 kW capacity). Of total electricity generated in 2000, roughly 31% came from hydroelectric plants, 32% from nuclear power, and 36% from thermal power. Total installed capacity in 2001 was 2.7 million kW. The Medzama plant, reopened in 1995, increased electricity generation by 40% and has enabled electricity to be supplied around the clock for the first time in years. However, the Armenian government has promised to decommission the plant by 2004 to save money on maintenance if enough alternative power sources can be found by that time. As of 2002 three major and 38 smaller hydroelectric projects were planned, at a total cost of $300 million, with backing by the World Bank.

As of 1999, the domestic distribution grid for electric power was scheduled for restructuring and privatization, with assistance from the World Bank and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). A December 1988 earthquake disrupted the Yerevan nuclear power plant, creating almost total dependence on imported oil and natural gas for power. When ethnic hostilities with Azerbaijan again resurfaced in 1992, Azerbaijan discontinued service of its pipeline to Armenia (with natural gas from Turkmenistan). The only other supply routes passed either through Turkey (which was sympathetic to Azerbaijan) or through Georgia (which was dealing with its own civil chaos). Since the 1994 cease-fire with Azerbaijan, the revival of energy supplies has helped start the recovery of Armenia's economy. If Armenia and Azerbaijan ever resolve their disputes, the transit of oil and gas from the Caspian Sea region abroad will become possible.

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