Adamkus, Yushchenko discuss energy cooperation

  • 2007-08-15
  • By Kimberly Kweder

POWER PLAY: Ukraine could end up building part of the joint nuclear power plant project that Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Lithuania have agreed after Adamkus said construction would be open to 'every competent partner.'

VILNIUS - Energy issues were high on the agenda during talks between President Valdas Adamkus and Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko that took place in the Crimea Aug. 13 - 14.
According to Ukrainian National Radio, Yushchenko said Ukraine's priority was to build an energy corridor connecting the Caspian region and Europe, and added that his country had plans to export electricity to Lithuania. 

Ukraine, which borders the Black Sea, could provide a link to Caspian oil transport networks that bypass Russia 's an important step in the Baltic state's becoming energy independent from Moscow.
Evaldas Birgiolas, deputy chief of the Energy Efficiency Center at Lithuania's Energy Agency, told The Baltic Times that the idea of oil transportation through Ukraine to Lithuania is a logical one.
"We don't have lot of local resources for energy," he said. "We should find a way to diversify with other countries."
"It will be nice to have a pipeline with Ukraine rather than [relying on] Russian pipelines. Is it feasible economically or not? I believe Lithuania and Ukraine could help each other. It could be a platform for change, to have oil from a new supplier, and a new experience," he added.
However, Vaclovas Miskinis, head of the Laboratory of Energy Systems Research at the Lithuanian Energy Institute, said while having the Baltic states share common energy policies with Ukraine is important, using that country as a channel for oil would be problematic.

"The possibility to have a direct connection with Ukraine's oil pipeline is not so simple. The most expensive cost is natural gas and oil imports from the Black Sea region," he said.
Experts in Lithuania also say that the country needs to place more emphasis on energy renewal and reducing dependence of foreign oil and natural resources. Lithuania has pledged to increase the production of electricity from alternative energy to 12 percent by 2010.

For his part, Adamkus said that he is prepared to include Ukraine in the proposed Baltic nuclear power plant project that is supposed go online in Lithuania in 2015. The new facility is meant to replace the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant that will be shut down in 2009 at the request of the European Union.
"Ukraine asked right away about the chances for Ukraine to take part in the construction of reactor number three 's whether there are certain criteria, have we already made our choice. My answer was very clear 's it is absolutely open for every competent partner wishing to participate in the construction, the most important thing is that everything should be very clean, open and we are announcing the tender without any restrictions whatsoever. Transparency, integrity and expertise are the key," Adamkus told the media.
Latvia, Estonia and Poland also intend to participate in the construction of the new power plant.
However, Poland is posing additional conditions for the amount of energy it will receive from the plant, and certain Estonian political powers are suggesting holding a national referendum to decide on taking part in the project.

Meanwhile, upon his Aug. 14 return from Ukraine, Adamkus held a telephone discussion with Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev in which they talked about specific energy infrastructure projects that link Kazakhstan with Europe as well as future meetings on these issues, according to the Lithuanian president's press service.
The conversation also touched on the topic of the upcoming energy summit, which will be held in Vilnius Oct. 10 - 11.
"As certain oil pipelines are overflowing both from Azerbaijan, and Gazprom and other sources, Kazakhstan is very seriously considering a possibility to build a new pipeline to Europe and believes that the conference in Vilnius offers the perfect opportunity to introduce the significance of this problem," Adamkus told the media on Aug. 14.

The Lithuanian and the Kazakh presidents also discussed closer cooperation between Kazakhstan and the EU in the energy and other areas, in which Lithuania will strive to play a more active part.