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EM: Latvijas atkarība no Krievijas enerģijas ir pārspīlēta

Latvia's dependency on Russian energy is 'overstated', says EM

Latvia has started looking for ways to reduce its dependence on Russian energy. The Ministry of Economics (EM) has outlined different scenarios, pointing out that prices should not rise significantly, Latvian Television reported March 6.

According to the Ministry, last year, 90% of natural gas imported into Latvia came from Russia. According to EM, the reason is lower prices, not that it would not be possible to purchase gas from other countries. By properly planning supplies, the Baltic States' needs can be fully met by the Klaipeda (Lithuania) liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal. Currently, talks are ongoing with Lithuanians and Estonians to harmonize the use of the terminal.

According to the Ministry, the possible transition to liquefied gas will not lead to a substantial increase in gas prices, although everything will depend on market supply.

Another important aspect of Latvia's energy links with Russia is the shared electricity supply grid BRELL. It is only planned to move away from it in 2025. Gatis Junghāns, board member of the Latvian electricity transmission company “High Voltage Network”, said that there are no signals currently that Russia is going to exclude the Baltic from the grid, but Baltic transmission operators would also be prepared for this scenario and Latvia would not be left without electricity.

"The disconnect from the Russian energy system essentially means that all interconnections would be disconnected, including with Belarus, Russia and Kaliningrad, and the Baltic energy system should work in isolation. Technically, we are prepared for this, but it should be said that it would also be more expensive at this point compared to the current working system,” Junghāns said.

He said electricity supply would still be connected to the countries of the European Union, but Latvia should also be able to produce more electricity. This is why the government ordered Latvenergo to purchase two terawatt-hours of natural gas so that, in the event of a disconnect, the shortage could be compensated for in thermal power plants. 

"The agreement is concluded, and in the month of April, May, through the Klaipeda LNG terminal, that gas will be delivered. […] The volume we have purchased is from a number of suppliers, and the countries of origin of natural gas are the USA, Qatar and Norway," said Guntars Balčūns, member of Latvenergo Board.

The price at which the gas was purchased is not disclosed by the company. In general, EM stated that Russia's energy dependency should not be overstated and Latvia's needs could be covered if sanctions were also targeted against Russia's energy sector.

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