Polish pipeline proposed

  • 2011-11-17
  • From wire reports

RIGA - During the Baltic prime ministers’ meeting at the end of last week, no agreement was reached once again on the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in one of the Baltic countries, reports LETA. All was not lost, however, as Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity) suggested that the construction of the LNG terminal be postponed, and instead the countries could agree on construction of a natural gas pipeline from Poland to Lithuania’s capital city of Vilnius.
At the meeting, the Latvian side continued its insistence that Riga was the best place for construction of the terminal, but Lithuania and Estonia will only agree with this if the European Union recognized Latvia as the most suitable place for the project. They worry that if built in Latvia, it could fall under the control of Russia’s Gazprom.

Dombrovskis suggested that the Baltic countries first agree on construction of a gas pipeline from Poland to Vilnius. This would diversify gas supplies also for Latvia, because the Polish pipeline is connected with Germany’s system of gas pipelines, whereas Latvia’s gas pipeline is connected to that of Lithuania. Therefore, Latvia could receive gas supplied from the liquefied natural gas terminal in Poland near the Polish-German border.

The Latvian prime minister’s proposal took his Baltic colleagues by surprise. They said that the suggestion would be evaluated, but neither Lithuania nor Estonia is prepared to give up their LNG projects. The two countries believe that a study done by the European Union would be best at determining where the terminal should be built, whether the gas pipeline should be constructed, or both.

A spokeswoman for European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger said that the Baltics had been given enough time to reach agreement on the best location for building the terminal. Since this has not happened, this location will be determined by the European Commission’s study. She could not say how long the study would take, adding that this depended on the company that would be hired to do the study.