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Opinions 2013 11 21

Z.BALČYTIS: “EU support – only for vital energy projects“

The European Commission (EC) anounced a list with 250 of its most imporant energy projects that will be eligible for European Union (EU) support. This list shows a will of EU member states to seek its energy integration into a common network, to ensure safer energy supplying, to increase the competitiveness. This list of projects also includes the projects that are directly related to Lithuania and aims to strenghten energy ties with neighboring countries.

There are 5.85 billion euros (20.2 billion litas) support estimated to implement all 250 projects within 2014-2020. This funding will not be enought to fund all the projects. Projects that strenghten the region or the EU energy system instead of just its own are more likely to get the EU support.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania share a joint project – Baltic electricity networks synchronization with the EU electricity networks. Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian electricity systems till now are connected with the Russian network and that is why for this moment electricity management is not in line with the EU`s Third Energy system Package requirements. Synchranization with the electricity network is only possible through the construction of Lithuania and Polish electricity connection. This Project is included in the list of the most important.
Gas connection from Lithuania to Poland has a high possibility to get financial support. Officially said that the connection will integrate the Baltic countries into EU gas markets and will create access to the global liquefied natural gas market through the Polish LNG terminal in Svinouste. Lithuanian and Polish gas connection is part of a plan to integrate Finland, Baltic countries and Poland into the common European market.

Klaipeda LNG terminal is not on a list of major EU energy projects. In contrast, an existing Polish Svinouste LNG terminal project to increase capacities is included into major project list.
Despite the fact that it is still undecided where the regional Eastern Baltic LNG terminal will be built, this project is included into the list. Studies shows that building the regional terminal would take at least 17 years.

To the EC I have submitted my arguments, that construction of a regional terminal loses its purpose, odds with economical and political logic and leads to even bigger Baltic region`s energy dependence on external suppliers.

In my opinion, by 2015 Klaipeda LNG terminal will already be able to buy gas with a price that is lower than now. Lithuania must seek at least partial EU support for the Klaipeda LNG terminal.
Lithuania`s effort to achieve stronger Lithuanian and Latvian gas pipeline connection as well as gas pipeline construction between Klaipeda and Kiemenai (Lithuania and Latvia‘s border) should be seen from regional Eastern Baltic LNG terminal Project positions. It is part of a common Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and Finnish Project. Latvia is seeking to get EU support for renewal of gas supply in the eastern Baltic Sea region. That includes strengthening the gas connection with Lithuania and Estonia, modernizing Inciukalnis‘ internal pipelines and underground gas storage facility. Estonia would also like to build gas connection with Finland.

In other words, seems that European Commision, having Klaipeda LNG terrminal project out of the major projects list, offers Lithuania to buy gas from Poland or in the future from Latvia or regional LNG terminal in the Gulf of Finland.

This situation shows that in the future it is going to be difficult for Klaipeda treminal to compete with two huge, one on either side existing gas terminals wich received EU support. On the same principles Lithuania`s Klaipeda LNG treminal could supply gas to Poland and even Latvia through very same gas pipelines in Kiemenu.

What other projects Lithuania`s neighbors Latvia, Estonia and Poland are seeking to implement? Latvia seeks to strenghten and modernize the internal electricity network and connections with Estonia. Estonia aims to strenghten its internal electricity network connections with Latvia, develope a hydro powered generator using sea water. Poland intends to modernize and strenghten its electricity connections with Germany, develope hydro power generators at the borders with Germany and the Czech Republic, modernize and build new gas pipelines, streghten west Poland and Czech Republic‘s gas connection, build gas connections with Slovakia and Denmark, to modernize gas pipelines in Yamal – Europe section, to construct oil supply pipelines to Ukraine and to build an oil terminal in Gdansk.
Lithuania and its neighbors not only aims for integration into Europe`s energy system but also is trying to develope their national energetics. This means that these states are preparing for inevitable competetive fight inside EU. The EU declares that first of all support will be given to regional projects, hopefully including and Lithuanian projects.

 

ZIGMANTAS BALČYTIS
Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists
and Democrats in the European Parliament

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