Latvian minister: We can survive the winter with LNG terminals, gas storage

Latvia will be able to survive the next difficult winter by using Liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplied from Estonia and Lithuania's terminals, Latvian Minister for Economics Ilze Indriksone said during a visit to Paldiski. The new terminal is important for the whole region, she added.

Indriksone visited the Paldiski LNG terminal building site on Wednesday. Construction is on schedule and due to end in November, "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported.

When the terminal is completed, Latvia will be able to balance its gas flow between Klaipeda and Paldiski, she said.

AK asked how Estonia's gas reserves at the Latvian Incukalns gas storage center are guaranteed in difficult times.

The minister said Latvia's solidarity can be counted on and agreements between the Baltics have been signed.

"With gas supply, we really hope for cooperation — there is already a terminal in Lithuania, now a terminal is also being built in Estonia, and in we have the Incukalns gas storage in Latvia. I believe that in this way we can successfully survive the difficult times of the next heating period. Maybe in three years we will all be in a much better situation and the price level will meet the expectations of our economy," said Indriksone.

Alexela and Infortar have been tasked with completing the LNG terminal by October 30 and Elering by November 30. If everything goes to plan, the floating terminal will be in operation soon after.

Estonia and Finland have a joint agreement for a floating storage ship and it will dock wherever reception capacity is available ready first, Elering CEO Taavi Veskimägi said.

"Market participants and customers do not really need to be interested in exactly where this floating terminal is located, whether it is here or on the Finnish side of the Gulf of Finland, because there is actually Balticconnector's gas pipeline and we can receive gas from both sides," he said.

However, Alexela can see advantages to the ship docking in Estonia.

"If the Finns have theirs ready, then I hope that the question of where the floating terminal is situated will be resolved according to where it makes more economic sense. /.../ We are convinced, however, that in terms of navigation, we are at a competitive advantage compared to the Finns. / .../Due to the navigational conditions, large LNG ships can come to this quay even in the winter without [needing to] break ice," explained Alexela board member Marti Hääl.

On Saturday, Russia's state-owned energy company Gazprom suspended supplies to Latvia. The country had already agreed to phase out Russian gas from 2023.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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