Latvia was close to an en­ergy cri­sis in win­ter

Look­ing back at the first heat­ing sea­son passed af­ter Latvi­jas gaze’s di­vi­sion, the com­pany’s chair­man Ai­gars Kalvītis men­tioned in an in­ter­view that the coun­try was close to an en­ergy cri­sis.

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He ad­mits that con­clu­sions about the last heat­ing sea­son are rather harsh.

«Win­ter was mild. Real cold was only ex­pe­ri­enced for three weeks. We were rather ner­vous about gas sup­ply se­cu­rity at one point. Lib­er­al­iza­tion of the coun­try’s gas mar­ket was fo­cused on the mys­ti­cal as­sump­tion that open­ing the mar­ket would some­how help re­duce prices, rather than en­sur­ing se­cu­rity of supplies. That was the po­lit­i­cal fo­cus. We had to sac­ri­fice se­cu­rity of supplies in hopes of pro­vid­ing lower prices to con­sumers. I will be harsh and say that had air tem­per­a­ture stayed at -20 C for a cou­ple of days in win­ter, Latvia would have ex­pe­ri­enced an en­ergy cri­sis,» said Kalvītis.

This can be ex­plained not with gas vol­umes, but rather the pres­sure of Inčukalns’ un­der­ground fa­cil­ity.

«There is gas in the stor­age fa­cil­ity, but would not be able to reach the nec­es­sary pres­sure to sat­isfy de­mand ob­served on the cold­est days. The stor­age fa­cil­ity func­tions in ac­cor­dance with bal­loon prin­ci­ple: the fuller it is the faster air comes out. The same hap­pens with gas. If the stor­age fa­cil­ity has a short­age, there is not enough pres­sure,» says Kalvītis.

He also men­tioned that there were two days in win­ter when Latvi­jas gaze had al­most ex­pe­ri­enced dif­fi­cul­ties with sat­is­fy­ing de­mand. «We had two days in win­ter when we al­most could not sat­isfy the mar­ket’s de­mand, be­cause gas was re­quested for con­sump­tion in Latvia, Es­to­nia and Lithua­nia, as well as Rus­sia, which used Inčukalns to store some of its gas. We were saved be­cause weather got warmer,» said Kalvītis.

He says this sig­ni­fies a se­ri­ous prob­lem. Amend­ments to Cabi­net of Min­is­ters re­quire­ments were de­vel­oped af­ter the ‘harsh les­son’ from last year’s win­ter.

Last year, Latvi­jas gaze op­er­ated with turnover worth EUR 330.956 mil­lion and prof­its of EUR 26.048 mil­lion.

Pan­therMe­dia/SCANPIX

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