Lithuania, Estonia Cut Russian Imports
Lithuania cut its imports from Russia by 63.2% in the first quarter of 2016, year on year, as the new supply contracts with Norway's Statoil came into effect.
Most of Lithuania's major gas importers purchased gas supplies from Statoil for this year, although Lithuania's national gas supply company continues to buy gas from the Russian company.
Baltic neighbour Estonia cut its Gaprom imports by 73.6% in the first quarter of 2016 but Latvia saw its imports of Russian gas rise 68.3% in 2016. At the start of the year, two major Lithuanian gas importers – state-owned Litgas, a LNG importer, distributor and exporter, and the fertilizer company Achema, the largest single commercial gas user in the Baltics – started receiving Statoil gas through a LNG terminal in the seaport of Klaipeda.
Achema had relied only on Gazprom gas before, but now it expects 700mn m³ of Norwegian gas by October. Achema is also said to purchase 21 liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes equivalent to around 1.9 bn m³ over the next three years, but the company did not comment on it.
Next winter, Gazprom will be supplying gas to the region by short-term tender, as an alternative or supplement to its long-term contracts, following a successful auction earlier this year. Gas will be delivered to buyers at the Belarus-Lithuania border.
The monopoly exporter has been accused of anti-competitive practices in markets in central and eastern Europe, including the use of oil-indexation in its contracts. These accusations are the object of a long-running probe by the European Commission.