State support lacking in gas talks

  • 2011-01-13
  • From wire reports

VILNIUS - Lietuvos Dujos received not the slightest help from the government or the Energy Ministry in its talks with the Russian gas concern Gazprom on the reduction of imported natural gas prices, whereas the neighboring Latvian government was active in the talks and guaranteed lower gas prices for Latvian consumers, says Lietuvos Dujos, reports news agency ELTA. On Jan. 6, Lithuania’s Energy Minster, Arvydas Sekmokas, said, however, that the reduction of gas prices to Latvia and Estonia should be viewed with caution, given the likely pressure on Lithuania to refuse its plans for a liquefied natural gas terminal (LNG) and a gas link with Poland. Lietuvos Dujos responded by saying that the energy minister’s position goes against the facts and has misled consumers.

According to the company, neither Gazprom nor E.ON Ruhrgas International has ever objected to the construction of an LNG terminal. On the contrary, in an open letter by the shareholders on Sept. 20, 2010, they said unequivocally that they “in no way would create any obstacles to the construction of an LNG terminal in Lithuania.” In addition, it was noted that laws obliged Lietuvos Dujos to connect the terminal and guarantee access to its gas distribution system under the conditions and prices set out by the state.

In his interview on Ziniu Radijas, Sekmokas said that it was estimated that Lithuanian household consumers paid lower prices for natural gas than Latvian consumers, Estonians paid even less, and that the gas prices for Lithuanian consumers fell by 7 percent.

Meanwhile, the national energy company Lietuvos Dujos claimed that if a 15 percent decrease in imported gas prices was agreed in the talks with the Russian concern, Lithuanian household consumers would have paid 15 cents less per a cubic meter of gas and non-household consumers would have paid some 130 litas less per 1,000 cubic meters from the beginning of 2011. Lietuvos Dujos added that Lithuanian companies and household consumers would have saved over 400 million litas (115.9 million euros) because of lower central heating costs.