Lithua­nia to con­sider gas im­port al­ter­na­tives af­ter 2024

Baltic News Network - - Front Page -

With Baltic States un­able to reach an agree­ment in re­gards to the lo­ca­tion of the re­gional liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas ter­mi­nal, Lithua­nian gov­ern­ment has lost the op­por­tu­nity to ask for Euro­pean Union’s sup­port in pur­chas­ing In­de­pen­dence ship of Klaipeda ter­mi­nal. The de­ci­sion has been made to search for al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tions, BNS was told by Lithua­nian En­ergy Min­is­ter Žy­gi­man­tas Vaičiū­nas.

Klaipedos nafta has re­cently an­nounced an in­ter­na­tional con­test to searcg for nat­u­ral gas im­port al­ter­na­tives.

«This does not mean we have given up on buy­ing the ship back. Our goal is se­cur­ing com­pet­i­tive prices now and in the fu­ture. This is why, hav­ing as­sessed the sit­u­a­tion in the re­gion and the need for se­cu­rity for sup­plies, we wish to look for al­ter­na­tives. We have to be cer­tain if there would even be a need for a ship af­ter 2024. Only then will we be able to con­sider other sce­nar­ios,» said the min­is­ter.

Lithua­nia’s lease of the float­ing gas stor­age fa­cil­ity ends in 2014. The con­tract was signed with Norwegian Hoegh LNG for ten years.

Ac­cord­ing to the min­is­ter, Lithua­nia hopes to re­ceive sev­eral gas sup­ply sce­nar­ios in the first quar­ter of 2018.

Tech­ni­cal spec­i­fi­ca­tions de­tailed in the con­test state that par­tic­i­pants are ex­pected to an­swer the ques­tions if eco­nom­i­cally speak­ing Lithua­nia is in­ter­ested in hav­ing a liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas im­port ter­mi­nal af­ter 2014. If it turns out that Lithua­nia does not need such a ter­mi­nal in the fu­ture, con­tenders will be asked to of­fer eco­nomic so­lu­tions to se­cure ac­cess to in­ter­na­tional mar­kets for Lithua­nian gas mar­ket play­ers.

Last year, Lithua­nian gov­ern­ment com­menced dis­cus­sions with Euro­pean Com­mis­sion about pos­si­ble fi­nan­cial sup­port to buy back In­de­pen­dence. It was es­ti­mated that this sup­port would reach ap­prox­i­mately EUR 100-150 mil­lion. Brus­sels, how­ever, put forth a con­di­tion that all three Baltic States would have to reach an agree­ment in re­gards to the lo­ca­tion of a re­gional liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas ter­mi­nal. Un­for­tu­nately, no such agree­ment was reached in time.

Talks re­gard­ing re­gional gas in­fra­struc­ture com­menced in 2006, when Baltic States de­cided to eval­u­ate the idea re­gard­ing con­struc­tion of a re­gional ter­mi­nal. Af­ter fail­ing to reach an agree­ment, Lithua­ni­ans de­cided to build a ter­mi­nal in Klaipeda on their own. Lithua­nia later asked neigh­bour­ing coun­tries to rec­og­nize the ter­mi­nal as a re­gional one so that it would be pos­si­ble to re­ceive sup­port from the EU. Es­to­nia re­fused be­cause it wanted to build its own ter­mi­nal in Pald­iski. Lithua­nia was fine with Es­to­nia build­ing a smaller ter­mi­nal, hoping to re­quest sup­port from the EU for both ter­mi­nals and Latvia’s gas stor­age fa­cil­ity in Inčukalns. How­ever, when Latvia de­cided to post­pone mak­ing its de­ci­sion as to whether or not to sup­port Baltic States’ agree­ment in re­gard­ing to a uni­fied liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas mar­ket un­til next year, Lithua­nian Prime Min­is­ter Saulius Skver­nelis said it is no more than a stalling tac­tic. Be­cause of that, he said Vil­nius will search for al­ter­na­tives to re­duce the ex­ist­ing ter­mi­nal’s main­te­nance costs.

Julius Kalin­skas/

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