Lithuania looks to Kuwait for oil supply

  • 1999-03-04
VILNIUS (BNS) - Choosing an alternative oil supplier and buying oil from Kuwait is a political benefit, for which Lithuania might have to pay an additional price, said Lithuanian Parliamentary Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis.

Landsbergis told reporters about "business-like conversations" with Kuwait's oil minister and representatives of a state-owned oil company during his recent official visit to Kuwait.

Landsbergis said the Lithuanian Economics Ministry and the governing body of Lithuania's oil refinery Mazeikiu Nafta would take over the talks with Kuwaiti oil firms from now on.

"We covered possibilities of oil supplying and investments, as selling one-third of the Mazeikiai refinery stake still remains an unsettled issue," Landsbergis said.

Landsbergis recalled that in 1996 the Lithuanian government had proposed to Kuwait to invest in the construction of a Lithuanian oil terminal in Butinge, "but the correspondence did not lead to any results."

The terminal is already constructed, and "Kuwait could take an interest in other aspects of the business if they see a reasonable gain."

"Showing that we have an alternative and actually having one would be very useful in terms of political matters, but the other issue is how much extra we would have to pay for the politics," said Landsbergis.

Russia still remains the monopolistic supplier of oil to Lithuania.

Large tankers cannot enter the Baltic Sea through the straits of Kategat and Skagerak, therefore shipments of oil to Lithuania would require an additional operation of pouring the oil into smaller vessels.