RIGA - Latvia should not be worried about natural gas reserves in Incukalns underground gas storage facility Incukalns, but about how Latvia's economy will be able to survive at such high gas prices, said Latvijas Gaze natural gas facility's board chairman Aigars Kalvitis in an interview with the Latvian commercial TV3 television today.
"Latvijas Gaze has ensured the gas supply portfolio for this winter, Incukalns storage is full by at least 80 percent, therefore there is sufficient amount of gas even for a cold winter until late February, early March," said Kalvitis.
At the same time, he said that Latvia has the worst scenario in relation to natural gas prices - there is a question how consumers will be able to pay their bills if natural gas prices will be EUR 100 per MWh. "The economy is not able to functions with such high prices. People will not be able to pay their bills, the debt portfolio was growing even with low gas prices," he said.
Kalvitis does not think that freezing payment for natural gas supplies would be the best solution. In his opinion, European politicians and institutions should act more responsibly, taking example from the US, ceasing natural gas exports to Asia.
As reported, there is no shortage of natural gas stocks in Latvia, Edijs Seicans, the Economics Ministry's undersecretary of state for energy told members of the Saeima Sustainable Development Committee earlier.
The ministry official indicated that around 17.3 terawatt hours (TWh) of natural gas have already been pumped into the Contexus Baltic Grid (Conexus) unified natural gas transmission and storage operator's underground gas storage facility in Incukalns, which is 80 percent of the facility's capacity. Meanwhile, volumes booked at the storage facility is 18.9 TWh.
Seicans said that although the gas stocks available at Incukalns are sufficient, in the case of an especially cold and long winter or other unexpected events, Latvia would not be left without natural gas because gas can be received by pipes from Finland and liquefied gas can be purchased from Lithuania.
This year, gas prices has been rising in Europe amid growing demand, which is also affecting the amount of gas stored at the Incukalns underground facility.