RIGA - On Wednesday, the Saeima's Economic, Agriculture, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee supported a proposal to impose a ban on natural gas supplies from Russia to Latvia in the Energy Law.
MPs decided not to set a specific deadline for this proposal for the time being, although initially MPs Reinis Znotins (Conservatives) and Janis Cielens (Conservatives) had envisaged that the ban could take effect on June 1, 2023. Both MPs withdrew their proposal.
The members of the committee took the decision unanimously.
Representatives of the Ministry of Economics will inform the coalition about specific proposals to give up Russian natural gas on Monday, April 11. After this meeting, a specific deadline could be set for Latvia to completely abandon Russian natural gas.
At the meeting of the committee, Janis Kalejs, the head of the Wholesale Department of joint-stock gas supply company Latvijas Gaze, whos largest shareholder is Russia's Gazprom, objected to the proposal. He pointed out that such a decision should be more thoughtful, and if Latvia adopted it alone, it might not make sense, given that Latvia has a single natural gas market with the other Baltic states and Finland.
Prior to the meeting, the Chairman of the Board of Latvijas Gaze Aigars Kalvitis sent his objections to the planned amendments to the Energy Law. Kalvitis objected to the decision to ban natural gas supplies from from Russia. In the letter, the Chairman of the Board of Latvijas Gaze draws the attention of the MPs of the committee to the fact that the supply of energy, including natural gas, is a set of legal and technical activities in which changes require time and resources.
According to the company, this decision would be too cardinal and would make the energy crisis even longer, more expensive and more difficult to overcome.
As reported, there is unanimity in the government coalition on the need to get rid of Russian natural gas imports as soon as possible, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) told journalists following the weekly coalition meeting Monday.
The prime minister indicated that when it comes to gas supply, Latvia will be independent from Russia and this will be achieved by resolving related issues, including by ensuring sufficient deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG).