VILNIUS – Any shortage of natural gas in Europe amid a cut in deliveries from Russia affects gas prices in Lithuania, even though the country does not buy Russian gas, Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said on Tuesday.
"It certainly has an impact, albeit indirect," Simonyte told reporters when asked if a complete cut-off of Russian gas supplies to Europe would have an impact on Lithuania.
"As you know very well, we are no longer using Gazprom gas and have not been buying it since this past spring, but any shortage of natural gas on the market has an impact on the supply and price of natural gas," she added.
According to Simonyte, the Lithuanian government is taking all steps to make sure the country has enough gas in winter.
However, the prime minister predicts that it will not be easy for the European Union to secure its gas supply if Russia sharply reduces or cuts off gas supplies to the bloc's countries.
"If the supply of gas is stopped or drastically reduced, as it is now, and the repairs (to the Nord Stream 1 pipeline) do not end, just like the repairs to the Druzhba (oil pipeline from Russia to Lithuania) never ended, then some EU countries are going to have considerable problems filling up their storage facilities and securing gas supplies, especially those that have no alternative supplies," she said.
This week, Europe is waiting to see if Russia restarts gas deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline whose 10-day scheduled maintenance is due to end soon.
The average price of gas in the Lithuanian market area of the GET Baltic gas exchange hit 157.78 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh) on July 20, up from 97.6 euros in May.