The U.S.-backed construction of a 47 kilometer natural-gas pipeline is being touted as a means of promoting "energy security" in the former Soviet republic of Georgia; the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), however, is not advertising the fact that a corollary beneficiary of this assistance package includes the Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) monarchy, rulers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) principality that owns the Poti Free Industrial Zone (FIZ) in Western Georgia.
USAID, on behalf of the Government of Georgia, this past week issued a Request for Proposals (Solicitation #KUAB47-GW07-PU-BID-00001) to provide tens of thousands of pipes, caps, and related infrastructure for the Kutaisi-Abasha project. The RFP did not state whether U.S. taxpayers partially or entirely will shoulder the cost of the equipment, nor did it disclose the estimated price tag of the assistance package.
The endeavor directly will benefit the Georgian Oil & Gas Corporation (GOGC), a limited liability company that the Georgian government formed in 2006. GOGC in recent months legally was changed into a joint stock company.
GOGC plans to "replace the existing undersized and leaking pipeline sections, thereby improving natural gas deliveries to the Western Georgia," according to a USAID/Georgia "Energy and Environment" projects summary. The USAID solicitation, which U.S. Trade & Aid Monitor discovered had been posted to the FedBizOpps database on Thanksgiving (Nov. 25) -- a federal holiday -- points out that the project will help promote "the development of [Poti FIZ] on the Black Sea coast, and secure power exports through reliability related infrastructure improvements."
While USAID did not hide its goal to give a boost to the Poti FIZ, deeper digging was necessary to reveal that the Zone is an investment project of the RAK government-owned RAKIA-Georgia.
Photo caption: His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasmi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah