SEARCHING FOR ALTERNATIVE GAS SUPPLIES: On June 28, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (left) and Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius discussed the issue of construction of liquid gas terminals near the shores of Lithuania, which could be an alternative to Russian gas supplies. According to the Lithuanian government’s decision of July 21, the terminal servicing Belarusian needs will be considered separately from the terminal project for Lithuania.
VILNIUS - On July 21, the Lithuanian government made a historic decision: a liquid natural gas terminal will be constructed in Klaipeda. The state-owned Klaipedos Nafta (oil terminal company) will prepare the terminal’s project. The capacity of the terminal will be up to three million cubic meters per year. This will mean the end of the Russian Gazprom monopoly on gas supplies to Lithuania.
“Probably the best variation would be a tanker having equipment for degasification. In our opinion, this would be the most effective technology. It would take a couple of years to build such a terminal,” Kubilius said during the press conference in the Lithuanian government office on July 21. It will be up to Klaipedos Nafta where to situate that tanker terminal – in the Klaipeda port or farther away from shore. This will become clear after the study on sea wave intensity and sea traffic intensity near Klaipeda will be made.
According to Kubilius, Lithuania now pays per 1,000 cubic meters of gas at least $100 more than countries of West Europe, only because of lack of competition for Russian supplies.
At the moment, both the gas supply and distribution is owned by the Lietuvos Dujos. Gazprom owns the majority of shares in Lietuvos Dujos. Kubilius, during his press conference, stated that Lithuania will implement a European Union directive banning such monopolistic ownership. This means that gas pipelines in Lithuania will be taken from Lietuvos Dujos, back to state ownership. According to Kubilius, this was a mistake by former Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas to allow such privatization of Lietuvos Dujos by Gazprom, which created this monopolistic monster.
Lietuvos Dujos’ leadership expressed no protest – it states that it will be able to do its business under the new conditions.
The creation of a gas exchange in Lithuania and construction of the gas pipeline Klaipeda-Jurbarkas is also on the agenda of necessary reforms, according to Kubilius.
On June 28, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Lithuanian Prime Minister Kubilius discussed the issue of construction of liquid gas terminals near the shores of Lithuania. Lukashenko is looking for some alternative to Russian gas supplies for his country as well. According to the Lithuanian government’s decision of July 21, the terminal servicing the Belarusian needs will be considered separately from the terminal project for Lithuania.