Firms seek compensation for 'lost' Nord Stream 2 revenue

Two Ventspils-based companies - Noord Natie Ventspils Terminals and Baltijas Ekspresis - are asking the Latvian government to compensate them to the tune of €8.3m in revenues they claim are lost because of Latvia's non-participation in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

The companies asked for compensation saying that the government did not allow the Freeport of Ventspils to participate in Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline - and that if they had participated, they would definitely have made millions of euros.

Noord Natie Ventspils Terminals is seeking €2.5 million compensation for lost earnings from cargo handling services, €700,000 for cargo storage services, and a further €2.5 million for the provision of technological elements (yards/equipment).

Baltijas Ekspresis has requested compensation of €2.6 million the company claims it would have earned by providing railway shipping logistics. Both requests, made on June 21, were addressed to Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis.

Meanwhile Latvia's president Raimonds Vejonis commented the matter by saying that the government has taken no specific decisions regarding the Nord Stream 2 project and the storage of gas pipes in Latvian territory. Therefore the government cannot be asked for compensation, he said. 

“The final decision that the pipes will not be stored here was taken by the management of Nord Stream 2 and this is their decision. The companies should rather submit their applications and questions to the project’s management,” Vejonis said.

The president indicated at the same time that national security interests are Latvia’s top priority that will always be given precedence over all other considerations.

Prime Minister Kucinskis said that he could not yet comment on what the government will say in its reply to these compensation requests but that he did not feel that the government owed anything to the companies.

The total cost of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline would be €9.5 billion, underwritten by Russian state company Gazprom and a consortium of European energy companies.

Latvia, along with Estonia, Lithuania and Poland, is officially opposed to the project, arguing that it will increase dependence on Russian gas and bypass supplies via Ukraine.

However, that opposition does not seem to be carrying much weight, with the experts saying pipes will be laid at a rate of three kilometers per day and the whole thing can be constructed in less than two years.

The Baltic states are not the only ones expressing concern about Nord Stream 2, with recent commentary focusing on the remarkable speed with which the project is being carried forward.

Estonia's ERR News reported June 6 that there is high-level discord among EU leaders over the project.

The official website of the project, with access to the full technical details and reports is HERE.

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