VILNIUS - Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas) and Germany's PPS Pipeline Systems signed a contract this week for the construction of a gas distribution station in Visaginas and a natural gas transmission pipeline to the city.
Under the 11.9 million euro contract, and with the help of local builders, the German company is to construct a 100-kilometer gas transmission pipeline from Pabrade, a town in the eastern part of the country, to Visaginas, where the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant is located, Jonas Janulionis, Lietuvos Dujos' technical director, said on Sept. 13
The project is aimed at ensuring the supply of natural gas to the boiler houses of Visaginas and INPP by connecting them to the existing natural gas grid. It is scheduled for completion by Aug. 1, 2005.
The project is financed by Lietuvos Dujos, the Ignalina NPP Decommissioning Fund, the Danish Energy Authority and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which administers the Ignalina International Decommissioning Support Fund.
The EBRD is to provide a grant of 12.95 million euros for this purpose under an agreement signed last December.
The annual demand for natural gas in Visaginas is estimated to rise from 4 million cubic meters to 14.7 million cubic meters between 2005 and 2009 after the decommissioning of one of Ignalina's two power units in early 2005. It is forecast to reach 105 million cubic meters in 2010 after closure of the second unit in 2009.
Janulionis also said that Lietuvos Dujos intends to issue international tenders later this month for construction contracts on an additional pipeline from Kaunas to the country's border with Kaliningrad. The company expects to name the winners of the contracts in December.
The pipeline aims to expand capacities of the gas mains linking Minsk, Vilnius, Kaunas and Kaliningrad.
The first stage of the project, expected for 2005, will involve building a new 63-kilometer pipeline from Kaunas to Sakiai parallel to the existing one. This would ensure annual supplies of 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the Russian exclave from 2006, up from the current annual volume of around 500 million cubic meters.
Ruhrgas owns 35.69 percent of Lietuvos Dujos and Russia's Gazprom holds a 34 percent stake. The government owns 24.36 percent.