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Baltic PMs in Tallinn to settle disputes on energy projects

  • 2017-05-08
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The prime ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are meeting in Tallinn on Monday to work on their disputes on strategic gas and energy projects. No specific decisions and agreements should be signed Monday, however, the conversations are crucial for Lithuania that aims to persuade the other countries on the need for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal to secure European funding, as well as the possibility to synchronize power grids via Poland in a single link.

Lithuania seeks that its LNG terminal in Klaipeda was granted 100-150 million euros in EU support, however, this requires approval from Latvia and Estonia. Estonia has LNG project ambitions itself and would like to secure EU support. However, Lithuania's Energy Minister Zygimantas Vaiciunas says that conversations with the Latvian and Estonian colleagues should open a new page.

Vaiciunas told BNS that the Monday's meeting would address efforts to ensure long-term safe gas supplies, i.e., discussions will take place to identify the project that will apply for European funding.

"They will talk about ensuring safe long-term gas supplies to the Baltic states and the most cost-efficient solution for all consumers in the Baltic states. There will be no specific decisions, it will be a process," Vaiciunas told BNS.

Monday will give a start to the so-called LNG tour in Tallinn – the three prime ministers will discuss support to the terminals before planned trips to Lithuania's Klaipeda and Incukalns in Latvia.

The project will address another regional energy project, which is subject to a few disputes, namely, synchronization of the Baltic power grids with continental Europe. For now, both Estonia and Latvia disapprove of the Lithuanian and Estonian plan of synchronizing the networks via a single interconnection of LitPol Link. They want a second link to be constructed, pledging to otherwise consider the possibility of synchronization via the Nordic states.

The European Commission's Joint Research Center said in its finding that the best synchronization scheme for the Baltic states is via two LitPol Link interconnections, with costs reaching 770-960 million euros, while the synchronization via a single link would cost 900 million euros. The possibility to synchronize the Baltic states with the Nordic states is estimated at 1.36-1.41 billion euros.

After Latvia and Estonia voiced doubts in the single-link synchronization, Lithuania's electricity transmission operator Litgrid proposed an idea of building the second link after 2025, the planned date for project completion and disconnection from the Russian BRELL electricity ring.