RIGA - At one time, joint-stock gas supply company Latvijas Gaze, currently still partially owned by Russia's Gazprom, was able to kick doors open and dictate its terms to the state, but these times are over, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) told TV3.
The Prime Minister reminded that until 2017, Russia actually had a monopoly on the Latvian natural gas market, including the Incukalnas underground gas storage facility. The government bought out the storage facility, and it is now managed by the unified natural gas transmission and storage system operator joint-stock Conexus Baltic Grid (Conexus). Gas deliveries from Russia will also be prohibited from January 1.
"There is only one company left with the misleading name Latvijas Gaze, which should actually be called Russian Gas or Gazprom Gas,'' said Karins, emphasizing that this company can no longer dictate its own rules to the state.
Karins emphasized that the government has actually seized or reserved the natural gas belonging to Latvijas Gaze at the Incukalns storage facility, determining that it is intended for Latvian households, and the company will not be able to use it anywhere else. The government is not interested in the internal problems of Latvijas Gaze and what this company says, and it will have to implement the government's decision.
The amount of natural gas for supplying households during the heating season is 1.15 terawatt hours (TWh), and by the government's decision Latvijas Gaze is obliged to store this amount of natural gas at the Incukalns facility. The company does not have the right to transfer these stocks to other gas users, and Conexus monitors that this does not happen.
Although Latvijas Gaze claims that the amount of natural gas available to it at Incukalns facility is less than 1.15 TWh, Conexus has confirmed that the amount of natural gas reserves of Latvijas Gaze is currently even greater than the decision taken by the Cabinet of Ministers requires.
The Prime Minister also stated that this week the government decided to buy back half or 0.9 TWh of the previously purchased gas reserves stored at Incukalns facility from Latvenergo for EUR 193.483 million. This gas will remain in storage, but Latvenergo has been given the task of buying additional gas with the obtained money, which will be intended for the use of businesses.