Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Lithuania seeking European support to buy out LNG terminal's vessel

Lithuanian energy officials and Maros Sefcovic, European Commission vice-president in charge of the European Union (EU)'s energy union, have discussed on Tuesday the prospects of buying out the country's newly built liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal's vessel to lower costs.

Sefcovic was on a two-day visit in Lithuania, which brought him to the terminal in Klaipeda, Western Lithuania.

Lithuanian energy minister Rokas Masiulis, who accompanied Sefcovic at the site, highlighted that the buyout of Independence, the terminal's floating storage and regasification vessel, is one of the country's interests.

Lithuania currently leases the Independence from Norway's company Hoegh LNG Holdings, paying around 69 million US dollars a year. The contract has been signed for 10 years.

According to Masiulis, the buyout would allow extending the maintenance costs for longer period of time.

"We hope that the terminal's costs could decrease by another 20 percent," a press release from the energy ministry quoted Masiulis as saying.

"We are discussing this with Maros Sefcovic, that European support could be provided," he added.

Sefcovic noted that the European Commission has proposed the Winter Package. The proposal on new regulations is aimed at strengthening energy infrastructure and increasing the level of liquefied natural gas supplies in Europe.

The document puts Lithuania's terminal as an example of highly effective project.

"This is the example of how you've changed the energetic landscape of the whole region in a short period of time," Sefcovic was quoted as saying in Klaipeda by business news website

It's been more than a year since Lithuania built itself an LNG terminal to diversify its natural gas supplies and lower dependency on Gazprom, Russian gas supplier.

According to Lithuania's energy minister, this year Russian supplied gas will account for less than half of Lithuania's needs. The remaining part is to be supplied via the terminal.

Norwegian company Statoil is the supplier of natural gas to Lithuania's LNG terminal.

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