Three member states turn to EU to secure their gas needs

European flag
Source: DollarPhotoClub

Three member states – Lithuania, Poland, and Greece – have approached the EU with proposals of actions that would end their dependence on Russian gas supplies.

Yesterday, Lithuania and Poland have asked the European Union to cover up to 75% of the costs of a gas link between the two countries in an attempt to increase their energy independence. Meanwhile, Greece has asked the European Commission to ensure liquefied natural gas (LNG) is available for Balkan countries in the event of potential disruptions to Russian gas supplies – the portal EuroActiv reported.

Saulius Bilys, general manager of Lithuania’s gas transmission grid operator, Amber Grid said “The submission of a joint applications for the EU support is an important step into the implementation of the project aimed to integrate the isolated gas markets of the Baltic States into the EU gas market.”

The 500 km link, estimated to cost €558 million, will be able to carry 2.3 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year.

Lithuania is also looking towards LNG to fill its energy needs with an LNG terminal in Klaipeda scheduled to be operational in early December. Lithuania is planning on importing an estimated 1 billion cubic meters of gas via the terminal in the first year of operation, with the annual capacity to be increased to 4 billion cubic meters in the future.

Speaking to EurActiv, former Lithuanian energy minister Jaroslaw Neverovič said last year that 20 to 25% of his country’s gas needs will come from the national LNG terminal. Another larger LNG terminal is to be built for the needs of Lithuania and its Baltic neighbours, Latvia and Estonia.

In a move to secure the supply of LNG to the new terminal, Litgas, the gas trading arm of the Lithuanian energy holding company Lietuvos Energija, signed yesterday a five-year LNG supply deal with the Norwegian Statoil, preliminary valued at725-870 million Euro.

Qatar  is another possible source of supply of natural gas to Klaipeda’s LNG Terminal.

Further south, Greece has also turned to LNG to secure its energy needs. In a letter sent to European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, Greek Energy Minister Yannis Maniatis proposed an EU emergency mechanism to ensure that surplus amounts of lower-priced LNG are reserved for EU member states with gas shortages instead of being sent to other destinations.

“We have taken this initiative so that Europe launches a joint solidarity mechanism, which will secure LNG supplies in case of a stoppage,” Maniatis told Reuters on Thursday.

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