Brazauskas pleas to MP for support

  • 2005-08-24
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - The government announced last week that it was waiting for Germany's E.ON Ruhrgas and Russia's Gazprom to set out their proposals on amending the draft law on natural gas. Once it receives the proposals, the government would urge lawmakers not to make any further changes.

E.ON Ruhrgas and Gazprom are two major shareholders in Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas). Both have expressed dissatisfaction with the government's natural gas tariff policy and are demanding change.

Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas said last week that Lithuania had little choice but to implement the long-term gas supply agreement with Gazprom.

"If we fail to adhere to the agreement, who will be responsible for an absolute rise in the price of gas? We are greatly concerned about ensuring the implementation of this agreement, and we expect the support of the Parliament," he told the radio station Ziniu Radijas.

Early in July the government was notified by the European Commission that the draft law on natural gas was in compliance with EU directives and no amendments were required, he added.

Parliament has repeatedly turned the draft law on natural gas back to the Cabinet for reconsideration. In February deliberations were postponed as MPs failed to agree on a ceiling on the price mark-up that suppliers apply for natural gas sold to large-scale users.

Gazprom has threatened to raise the prices of natural gas for Lithuania unless the authorities re-review the sale price of natural gas and fulfil some other requirements.

E.ON Ruhrgas International owns 38.9 percent of Lithuanian Gas, while Gazprom holds a 37.1 percent stake. The government owns a 17.7 percent stake.

In 2004 Lietuvos Dujos posted 67.6 million litas (19.6 million euros) in audited net earnings.