Estonia is not convinced anymore that the terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Klaipėda, Lithuania has an advantage over a projected terminal in the Northwestern Estonian town of Paldiski, the country's most senior energy official said commenting on Lithuania's wish to get Estonia to recognize the Klaipėda terminal as a regional facility.
"Estonia has taken the position that it doesn't want to support the establishment of LNG terminals via the gas tariff," Ministry of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Deputy Secretary General for Energy and Construction Ando Leppiman told BNS. "The regional LNG terminal should evolve on the basis of market logic. Besides, the possibility to apply for EU co-financing has been envisaged for the establishment of the regional LNG terminal."
He said that Estonia is not convinced at this point that the LNG terminal in Klaipėda possesses an advantage over an LNG terminal in Paldiski. Lithuania, meanwhile, still wants Estonia to support its project.
"In order to provide our market with the solution that is the most sustainable in the long term, one must assess whether the Lithuanian terminal is more advantageous than a regional LNG terminal in Paldiski; we are not convinced of this today," the official stated.
The Estonian government's program describes setting up a regional LNG terminal in Estonia as important.
"An application has been filed for investment support under the ongoing Connecting Europe call for proposals for financing for the building of the Paldiski LNG terminal," Leppiman added.
Lithuania's negotiations with the European Commission on the purchase of the vessel of the Klaipėda LNG terminal depend on whether Latvia and Estonia recognize the Lithuanian LNG terminal as a regional facility, Lithuania's Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas said on Tuesday.
"Naturally we could expect European support if it were a regional terminal not only de facto, but also de jure as well," Vaičiūnas told BNS in an interview. "A lot depends on how Latvia and Estonia see the prospects of this terminal because we are talking about a conceptually new prject as what we have until 2024 is a lease, and financial support for a lease is not possible."
According to the Lithuanian minister, a deal on financial support for the acquisition of the vessel is also linked to the creation of a common gas market in the Baltic countries.
According to unofficial information available to BNS, Lithuania is seeking approximately 100 million euros in support from the Commission.
Lithuania has failed to reach a deal with Norway's Hoegh LNG, the current owner of the Independence, the Klaipėda terminal's floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), to purchase the vessel before the ten-year lease contract expires in 2024.
Klaipėdos Nafta pays Hoegh LNG 68.9 million dollars per year, which also covers the ship's crew, maintenance and operating expenses.
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla