Seimas speaker expects Latvian support to Baltic gas deal

Incukalns underground gas storage site
Foto: DELFI / Edgaras Savickas

Lithuania's Parliamentary Speaker Viktoras Pranckietis met with his Latvian counterpart on the eve of Baltic prime ministers, expressing hope that the neighboring state would support the agreement on liquefied natural gas, which would pave way for applying for European Union (EU) support for gas infrastructure projects of all three states.

"We discussed that this is a regional project, a regional aspiration, as well as about merging the projects into a single project and securing European Union support. (...) Latvia is saying very clearly that it will do the calculations and they will. As we already know that this will benefit everyone as a region, I do not doubt that Latvia should be in approval," Pranckietis told BNS in a telephone interview from Jurmala after meeting with Latvian Parliamentary Speaker Inara Murniece.

The Baltic prime ministers will Friday visit the Inčukalns gas storage facility in Latvia in completion of the so-called liquefied natural gas (LNG) tour of the three Baltic nations before proceeding with discussions in the Estonian city of Parnu. Lithuania's Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis stated on Thursday he expected to "put an end" to the decade-long negotiations with Latvia and Estonia.

A few officials told BNS on condition of anonymity that reaching agreement with Latvia could be difficult. One of them said Latvia had not made any clear requirements for the deal for a long time and was therefore "forgotten", with full focus on Estonia. However, Latvia now doubts whether it should sign the deal on the LNG market, as it may want more time for assessing the benefits.

Lithuania earlier urged its neighbors to recognize the Klaipėda LNG terminal as a regional project, thus paving way for securing EU support. However, Estonia was against, as it wants to build a terminal of its own in the Gulf of Finland, therefore, Lithuania agreed to Estonia building a smaller terminal, so that both terminals along with the Latvian gas storage facility could get EU support.

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