Baltic states could have 2 LNG terminals - Lithuanian PM
Two terminals could operate on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea controlled by the three Baltic states – in Lithuania's Klaipėda and in Estonia, which could build a small terminal, Lithuania's Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis stated on Friday. In his words, the two terminals would supplement each other along with the Inčukalns gas storage facility in Latvia.
The chief executive officer of Klaipėdos Nafta (Klaipėda Oil), the Lithuanian LNG terminal's operator, sees such a solution as a major boost to lengthy discussions on this issue and says that this makes him hopeful that the Baltic countries to come to an agreement in the near future.
"Today we placed a special focus on cooperation in the field of gas supplies and storage. We see potential for cooperation. If Estonia decided to build a medium-sized LNG terminal, the terminals would not compete but supplement each other together with the gas storage facility in Latvia," Skvernelis said at a news conference in the port city of Klaipėda.
Estonia's Prime Minister Juri Ratas restated that the regional LNG terminal should be constructed in the Gulf of Finland.
"It is a common goal of the Baltic countries to ensure the supply of gas on Baltic states regarding LNG terminal due to previous studies, which ensure the lowest cost to the consumer. Estonia proceeded that regional LNG terminal should be established on basis on market logistics. We don't support for a terminal to paid by customers. Study of EC found that the Gulf of Finland would be the best place of regional terminal," Ratas said at the conference.
In his words, the decision on the regional terminal should be made after the Baltic prime ministers visit the Inčukalns facility in Latvia – the visit is scheduled for early August.
Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kučinskis said that Latvia supported efforts to find a solution that would be acceptable to all three Baltic nations.
Klaipedos Nafta CEO Mindaugas Jusius said that he believed that the LNG terminals in Klaipėda and Estonia and the Inčukalns facility could operate together.
"There was a great deal of discussion today about a comprehensive solution that would ensure the use of both the Inčukalns storage facility and the planned terminal in Estonia and the maximum use of the LNG terminal in Klaipėda. This solution gives an important impetus to the lengthy discussions, leading us to expect that an agreement among the Baltic countries will be found in the near future," he told reporters.
According to information available to BNS, Lithuanian officials think that Estonia's medium-sized LNG terminal could be a customer of the Klaipėda facility as smaller tankers could deliver gas from the Lithuanian port to Klaipėda.
Lithuania wants the Klaipėda LNG facility to be recognized as a regional project. That would make it eligible for EU support, which could amount up to 100 million to 150 million euros, based on unofficial information.
It is said unofficially that the European Commission will provide no funding whatsoever if the Baltic states fail to agree on a regional LNG terminal.