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Baltic prime ministers meet in Klaipėda to discuss regional LNG terminal

The prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lihuania aboard the FSRU Independence, a floating LNG terminal in the Port of Klaipėda, Lithuania. June 9, 2017.
The prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lihuania aboard the FSRU Independence, a floating LNG terminal in the Port of Klaipėda, Lithuania. June 9, 2017. Source: (Jürgen Randma/Government Office)

Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis and Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis visited Klaipėda, Lithuania, in order to discuss isue related to the regional LNG terminal.

Following a visit to Paldiski last month, this was the second joint visit, this was the three Baltic prime ministers' visit second such joint visit made in order to learn about gas infrastructure elements in the Baltic states, according to a government press release.

Ratas emphasized that Estonia supports moving forward with plans for the terminal. "The floating terminal rented by Lithuania for the Port of Klaipėda provided a quick solution, but the common interest of the Baltic states to construct a regional LNG terminal, which would diversify sources of supply and ensure a stable and secure supply of gas to the Baltic states, would be the long-term solution," he said.

Ratas said that Estonia was ready to discuss various cooperation formats, but in order to find a long-term solution, equal competition possibilities should be ensured for different projects. "The situation in which gas consumption in the region is decreasing is a challenge to developers, but also makes them look for the most cost-effective solutions," he said, adding that any long-term solution should be based on market logic. "Estonia does not wish to support the construction of the terminals with taxpayers' money through a gas tariff; this issue must be solved by the private sector with its own investments."

The Estonian prime minister said that in regards to the location of the terminal, the Estonian government and local developers had taken into account decisions and analyses that had been made both at the regional and the EU level. According to a study ordered by the European Commission, the best location for the regional LNG terminal would be on the coast of the Gulf of Finland, he noted. "As Finland decided not to build the terminal, it must be constructed in either Muuga or Paldiski," he concluded, adding that this decision had also been approved by the Baltic heads of government.

According to Ratas, the Baltic states share a common interest in implementing regional transport and energy projects. He highlighted examples including Rail Baltic, the gas connections to be built as well as the synchronization of power systems with those of Europe. "These planned projects are a good example of constructive cooperation between the Baltic states to boost the economy and ehance regional cooperation and security," he said.

A regional LNG terminal on the coast of the Gulf of Finland is one element in a package including the Baltic Connector, the gas interconnection between Estonia and Finland, and GIPL, the gas connection between Lithuania and Poland. This list of important infrastructure projects was agreed upon in 2013 already, with the aim of connecting the Baltic states and Finland with the EU's common gas market and creating opportunities to diversify gas supply sources.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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