The opening of a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Lithuania in two months' time will supply its Baltic neighbours as well as northern European countries making the region less dependent on Russian gas, says the company implementing the LNG project, Klaipedos Nafta.
The new terminal locacted in Lithania's third city, Klaipeda is one of the first LNG distribution stations in the Baltic Sea. Lithuania plans to initially import around 2-3 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas through the terminal. This is projected to rise to 10 bcm. It is expected that Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Sweden will also import gas from the terminal.
Total natural gas consumed by Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia was 5.2 bcm last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The LNG terminal will not only help to implement the obligations under the EU directives, according to Arunas Molis, associate professor of Vytautas Magnus University.
"The new terminal will take away some tensions which are unavoidable in the case of a monopolized gas supply sector. I hope that Russian companies will remain reliable partners in this business, as Lithuania never declared that it is willing to cut off gas relations with Russia" said energy security expert, Arunas Molis from Vytautas Magnus University.
Relations with Gazprom in the future should either be built on more and more openness and respect or the role of Russian companies will further diminish.
There is no doubt that the new LNG terminal will help diversify the gas supply, said Andrius Juskys, lecturer of Vilnius University International Business School.
"The new LNG terminal will contribute to Lithuanian energy security and will help them when negotiating on the new gas prices with Gazprom" he said.
However, the economic feasibility of the LNG terminal will depend on the LNG and gas prices supplied by Gazprom said Juskys.
LNG has began to be used as an alternative to diesel and investors started to carry out infrastructure development research.
EU environmental requirements and clean fuel initiatives will continue to boost the demand for LNG.
Finland also plans to construct LNG terminals to help its neighbours import gas. It announced on 18 September that it will spend €65.2 million ($84 million) building three LNG terminals.
by Murat Temizer