Gas giant keen to defend its monopoly

The dominant gas utility Latvijas Gaze will turn down a repeat request by electricity utility Latvenergo to have access to Latvijas Gaze's infrastructure, the gas company's CEO Aigars Kalvitis told the LETA news agency Thursday.

Latvijas Gaze's license gives it exclusive right to operations on the gas distribution market, and the license will be in effect until February 10, 2017, explained Kalvitis.

The Supreme Court, in ruling that consumers in Latvia have the right to be supplied with natural gas from other sources, did not review Latvijas Gaze's complaint on its merits, but it does not mean that the company's position is wrong, said Kalvitis, a former prime minister, stressing that only Latvijas Gaze had the right to sell gas in the territory of Latvia.

If Latvenergo repeatedly asks permission for gas supplies from alternative sources, Latvijas Gaze will simply reject the request again, said Kalvitis.

As reported, the Economy Ministry is preparing the necessary regulations which would allow Latvenergo purchase gas from Lithuania and other sources before the opening of the gas market in 2017. The government could review the legislation later this month.

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