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Kristine Aghalaryan

Billionaire Samvel Karapetyan Looking for Oil and Gas Reserves in Armenia

Samvel Karapetyan, the Russian-Armenian businessman billionaire who owns the Tashir Group, now wants to get his hands on Armenia’s underground riches.

Armenian Oil and Gas Company LLC, a company registered on October 4 this year, has filed an application to explore for oil and natural gas in the first and the third sectors in Armenia. (see top map)

This newly registered company’s sole shareholder is another company, Energy Invest Holding CJSC.

According to the company’s website, the sole shareholder of Energy Invest Holding is the Hrazdan Energy Company, 100% of shares of which are owned by Tashir Capital CJSC. Tashir’s shares mostly belong to Samvel Karapetyan and his children.

The Karapetyans Have Expanded Their Business in Armenia

Based on the documents retrieved from Armenia’s State Registry of Legal Entities, Samvel Karapetyan has expanded his business activities in Armenia, acquiring large hydroelectric power stations.

In October 2016, Energy Invest Holding CJSC became the sole shareholder of Dzoraget Hydro LLC, operating the well-known Dzoraget Hydroelectric Power Station.

Energy Invest Holding CJSC is also the owner of Debed-Hydro LLC, registered in February this year. It also owns 90% shares of the Investment Media Group LLC, with a charter capital of 530 million drams and engaged in the production of electricity, this according to the State Revenue Committee.

Potential Areas of Oil and Gas

The first and the third sectors include the Shirak, Lori and Tavush Provinces of Armenia.

The areas to be explored have crossing points with Armenian-Turkish, Armenian-Georgian, Armenian-Georgian-Azerbaijani borders.

To find oil and natural gas, it is envisaged to carry out a preliminary seismic survey of ​​700 km2 area in five pre-defined sections. In case of positive results, it is planned to drill exploration wells.

The area includes territories boasting some of the unique flora of the Armenian Highland and the Central Caucasus, including some protected areas like Lake Arpi and Dilijan National Parks and the Hankavan Water Reserve.

The company says it will employ an exploratory technology that will not harm the environment, and that geological exploration work in forested areas will be carried out without cutting any trees.

According to the draft, the study of each 1 km2 area requires 125,000 Russian rubles ($2,145), and an amount equivalent to 100 million rubles is required for the study of the 800 km2 area​​.

Geological studies will be carried out on contractual basis by Russian Geo Impulse Technical Center LLC. The company has also undertaken to train Armenian specialists.

For the period of 2017-2020, the company is committed to spend 150,000 drams for geological exploration and 300,000 drams for extraction annually.

Public discussions on the preliminary assessment of the environmental impact of the geological study are scheduled at the Tavush Provincial Administration on December 5.