VILNIUS - No money paid for gas by Lithuania is going to Russia, Lithuania's Deputy Energy Minister Albinas Zananavicius said on Friday, after Latvijas Gaze (Latvian Gas) has resumed purchasing natural gas from Russia.
However, the official admitted that gas flows from different countries could be mixed in Latvia's Incukalns underground gas storage facility, where Lithuania also stores its winter gas stocks.
"It is not about the origin of the molecules, but about where the financial flows go," he told BNS. "The Incukalns facility contains both Norwegian gas and gas from other sources; of course they mix. But the financial flows do not go from Lithuania (to Russia)."
According to Zananavicius, Lithuanian companies purchase gas only from domestic gas suppliers, which receive it through the Klaipeda LNG terminal.
"Lithuanian companies buy gas only from Lithuanian suppliers. To our knowledge, there are no contracts with Latvian companies," the vice-minister said.
"Since Lithuanian gas suppliers buy gas only from the terminal and certainly not from Russia, there is no such risk," he added.
In late June, Lithuania passed a law banning Russian natural gas imports into the country, except for gas transit via its territory to the Kaliningrad exclave. Lithuania has been importing no Russian gas since April.
The Latvian parliament earlier this month adopted amendments to the Energy Law, banning natural gas imports from Russia from January 1, 2023.
According to Zananavicius, Lithuania was aware of Latvia's intention to purchase Russian natural gas this year.
"We knew that they would buy; we knew that there were repairs to the pipeline. So there is no surprise for us here," the official said.
"I know that there is a law that bans Latvians from buying gas from January 1 and, of course, Latvia will be dealing with the issue of where to get that gas," he added.
When asked how he views Latvia's decision to buy gas from Russia in terms of values, Zananavicius said that he could not comment on a foreign country's decisions.
"In the European bodies and discussions at the International Energy Agency, everyone agrees that it is better to prepare for the winter and to get through it safely, without causing serious social and economic consequences, and to continue to diversify," he said.