Putin and Kubilius in energy talks

  • 2010-04-01
  • From wire reports

VILNIUS - Lithuania’s goal is to build a new nuclear power plant at Visaginas, and the country is not considering any opportunities to participate in other regional nuclear energy projects, proclaimed Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, reports news agency ELTA. “Our main objective is the creation of a Baltic electricity market and its integration into the European electricity system. In order to pursue these goals, we started implementing the third EU energy package and the principle of ownership separation both in the fields of energy and gas provided in it,” noted Kubilius.

Putin said that Russia respected the ambitious plans of Lithuania, but once again invited Lithuania to cooperate in the construction of a new nuclear power plant in the Kaliningrad region, to which Kubilius replied that currently, Lithuania was focused on its own energy plans and had no intention to participate in the projects of other countries. In addition, the Lithuanian prime minister expressed deep concern about the potential threats of the organic pollution from the Kaliningrad region to the Curonian Spit, and nature in general.

“The environmental aspects are of a great importance to us,” said Kubilius. Putin promised to take these concerns into account. The Russian prime minister was also interested in what the reaction of the Lithuanian government would be if Russia decided to buy PKN Orlen Lietuva. Kubilius said he would not go into such discussions because the owners of the company in Poland ensured that currently, they did not plan to sell the company.

Putin said that Russia is interested in the possibilities for cooperation with Lithuania in the field of energy. “There is a need to solve several problems that are of great importance, both for Russia and Lithuania,” he said. According to him, these are the issues related to infrastructure and cooperation in the field of energy.

“I’ve heard about the concerns expressed by some of our colleagues on nuclear energy development, including the Russian northwest region, as well as Kaliningrad. We are ready to discuss these issues with you, to provide the necessary explanations. And if there will be any points of [mutual interest], we should work in those areas, taking into consideration the fact that those areas are most important to us,” said the head of the Russian government.

By the middle of this year, Lithuania will announce the results of the international tender for construction of its new nuclear power plant. Kubilius says that Lithuania is creating its own energy system in the region, taking care of capabilities and their integration into the European system. “We have closed the Ignalina nuclear power plant under an agreement with the European Union,” Kubilius said.

Kubilius stated that “Experts say that at this site [Ignalina] the construction would be cheaper by 30 percent” in building a new plant. “In the middle of this year final results of the search for an international investor will be announced. We have a clear strategic line,” he added.
According to the Lithuanian prime minister, Vilnius is interested in gas supply. “We are closely observing the development of the global gas industry,” Kubilius stressed, and said that Lithuania had serious intentions to build a LNG terminal “either in Lithuania or together with other Baltic States.”

Regarding cooperation with Russia in the gas business, Kubilius pointed out that Lithuania supported the position that the gas trade should take place in accordance with market principles.