Lithuania asks Klaipeda gas terminal to be added to EU’s list of projects of common interest
Lithuania has asked Klaipeda LNG terminal to be added to EU’s list of projects of common interest. If European Commission decides to approve this request, Lithuania can hope for financial support of at least EUR 100 million. This funding would help reduce gas prices for consumers in Lithuania and other Baltic States.
Approval would basically mean the terminal built using money from Klaipedos nafta and maintained using money from Lithuanian consumers will be recognized as a regional project.
As noted by Lithuanian Energy Minister Zygimantas Vaiciunas, Lithuanian government lately has been holding active talks with Latvians and Estonians, whose support for this project is very important. On 8 May, prime ministers of the three Baltic States will gather in Tallinn to discuss this matter. It is planned that leaders of Baltic governments will visit Klaipeda terminal and Incukalns gas storage facility.
«Our offer to Latvians and Estonians was such: let’s open a new page and rationally look at costs, numbers, market shares and its function without any prior biases. We talked with Latvia’s minister last week about Klaipeda terminal. If our terminal is the most optimal solution for all Baltic States, we could start to consider future joint development steps,» Vaiciunas told BNS.
«We’re trying to create a positive outlook because Latvia’s and Estonia’s position in relation to Klaipeda terminal had been rather negative in November last year. Nevertheless, as time went by, their opinions became more and more positive. At least now they are more agreeable to hold talks,» he added.
According to Lithuanian energy minister, if Klaipeda terminal is added to the list of projects of common interest, it would open up opportunities to receive support from Connecting Europe Facility. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says Lithuania actively works with colleagues in Latvia, Estonia and European Commission to have Klaipeda terminal recognized as regional. «If we accomplish it together […] we will be able to ask EC for support and resolve the matter of reducing financial burden for Lithuania,» he told BNS. According to him, EC in February declined Estonian company Alexela’s proposal for EU co-financing of EUR 344 million for the LNG terminal project in Paldiski. This could indirectly mean Lithuania can hope for support for Klaipeda terminal.
EU’s decision to allocate EUR 101 million to Croatia’s terminal on Krka Island, he believes, can be viewed as a precedent of EC supporting Floating Storage Regasification Unit technology even though it was previously believe that it does not qualify for CEF support. Former Lithuanian Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis had previously told BNS that the agreement with EC in regards to support for buyback of Independence ship for Klaipeda terminal would simplify talks with Norwegian Hoegh LNG concern.