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Dobele in mix for gas security

Apr 15, 2014
From wire reports, RIGA

Latvia’s Dobele gas storage facility could serve as a regional importance gas infrastructure base, Economy Minister Vjaceslavs Domvrovskis believes. The economy minister informed the business information portal Nozare.lv that he visited Germany last week, where he met with officials to discuss Latvia and the region's energy independence.

The minister met with members of the German parliament's economic and energy committee, as well as representatives from the Federation of German Industries. During the meetings, matters related to the possible impact of the Russia-Ukraine crisis on Latvia's energy independence were discussed.

Dombrovskis informed the German parliament members about the possibility of establishing an interconnection, as well as develop the Dobele gas storage facility into a regional gas infrastructure base and utilizing the facility's potential to store gas reserves.

''It is time to remember about the potential of our underground gas storage capabilities in Dobele, as this facility could serve as a regional importance gas infrastructure [base] and help us solve our energy independence problems,'' the economy minister emphasized.

Last year, then-Economy Minister Daniels Pavluts said that the Dobele gas storage facility makes sense if Europe is interested in it and if Europe's gas supply system needs its capacity and resources. ''If Europe needs the facility's capacity, there is potential,'' he said.

Pavluts explained that there is a point to developing the Dobele gas storage, but only if it is not connected with "Gazprom."

''It is within Latvia's interests that this solution is not connected with the dominant player [Gazprom] on the gas market,'' Pavluts said.

This is an important point, and one not often mentioned when discussing Latvia’s gas storage capacity and the country’s dependency on Russia for supplies.

Latvia’s gas storage facilities – at Inculkalns and Dobele – are connected only to Russia’s gas supply network, and are completely dependent on Russian supplies. It therefore makes no sense to discuss these storage facilities in terms of ‘gas security,’ as they don’t provide any security until Latvia can obtain gas from sources other than Russia.

New sources would include, for example, the under-development LNG import terminals now being built in Klaipeda, and one being discussed in Estonia.

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