What would happen if Russia cut gas supplies to Baltics? Europe says back up plan needed

  • 2014-10-17
  • From wire reports, RIGA

The European Commission says the Baltics need a back up plan if Russia cuts energy supplies (photo: AFP)

The European Commission has urged the Baltic states and Finland to launch an emergency back up plan amid fears Russia may cut off vital gas supplies to the countries.

The calls come amid fears Russia may halt vital gas supplies to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and Finland amid the crisis in the Ukraine.

It's estimated Estonia would run out of gas supplies in five days if the gas supplies were halted, The Commission says.

Estonia's Economy and Communications Ministry Energy Department Head Timo Tatar said it was vital to start thinking about alternative gas supplies amid tensions between the EU and Moscow.

"Estonia has worked on these issues over several years - whether it is including the requirement of differentiating the ownership of natural gas system manager in the natural gas law, or efforts to find fast solutions for moving forward with the regional LNG terminal and Balticconnector projects," Tatar said, cited by Postimees Online.

"The only long-term solution is to diversify the sources of supply and launching a gas market open for competition. This can be guaranteed in the region only by a package of measures that includes a regional LNG terminal (some relief is offered here already by the Klaipeda LNG terminal built by Lithuania), connection with the Central Europe (Lithuania-Poland gas connection GIPL), and joining fragmented country-specific gas markets into a common market region, the most important link of which is the Estonian-Finland gas connection Balticconnector. "

The calls come after the European Commission launched a gas stress test to analyze the effect of a possible stop of gas supplies to the region. 

Results showed Estonian and Lithuanian consumers would be the worst affected as there was no LNG terminal operating in the countries. 

The share of gas in the energy consumption of the four states varies. In Estonia and Finland, it amounts to 10%, but in Lithuania and Latvia, to 36% and 30% respectively.

(Edited by Rayyan Sabet-Parry)