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Azerbaijan: Loan Approved For Improvements To Gas System

Washington, 23 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The International Development Association (IDA) -- an organization of the World Bank -- has approved a credit of around $20 million to help Azerbaijan rehabilitate and improve the efficiency of its gas delivery system.

Natural gas is the main fuel in Azerbaijan, the country most dependent on the fuel in the world, according to the World Bank. But the distribution system is deteriorating badly, losing as much as five percent through leaky pipes, while another 15 percent is lost or cannot be accounted for because of poor monitoring systems.

While installing the system, which uses electrical current to prevent corrosion, the project will replace all seriously corroded pipe which is discovered.

Our Washington economics correspondent reports that part of the IDA credit will be used to upgrade the gas system's analytical equipment and improve its corporate management. The credit will be given to the Azerbaijan government which will, in turn, lend the money to Azerigas, the state enterprise which is being commercialized.