VILNIUS - The Economy Ministry has finally decided to act on a much needed oil products pipeline and signed an order approving a development plan for the project.
"We have authorized Mazeikiu Nafta to launch the drafting of a special plan in line with the Territory Planning Law," Anicetas Ignotas, the Economy Ministry's secretary, told the Baltic News Service on March 19. The company will have to conduct an environmental impact assessment, he added.
The decision comes after months of foot-dragging on the issue, which forced Mazeikiu Nafta's owner, Poland's PKN Orlen, to search for alternative routes for the pipeline, including to either of Latvia's ports in Ventspils or Liepaja.
The first of two options envisages building the pipeline from the Mazeikiai-based refinery to the terminal of Butinge, which Mazeikiu Nafta owns.
The second calls for a pipeline trailing to the port of Klaipeda.
However, Mazeikiu Nafta does not own a terminal there, and a proposal to buy Klaipedos Nafta, which does, from the state has stalled.
Mazeikiu Nafta has said it preferred the Klaipeda route and would allocate some $100 million for the project.
Rosvaldas Gorbaciovas, public relations director at Mazeikiu Nafta, said that the company would now work on territory planning documents and the EIA, which would require about a year.
The pipeline option to be chosen would only be known at that time, he added.
The state owns 70.6 percent of Klaipedos Nafta, which announced earlier this month that its revenues for January and February soared 37 percent to 20.3 million litas (5.9 million euros).