Locals protest against Skulte LNG terminal

The project of the proposed Skulte Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) terminal has caused the local residents' association to stir. The greatest concern is the safety risks in the event of an accident, Latvian Television reported May 1.

The Skulte Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal project is one of the options to replace Russian gas. The terminal is intended north of the port of Skulte, on the border of the municipalities of Saulkrasti and Limbaži. A pipeline would be connected to the coast, while the terminal itself would be 2.5 kilometers away from the coast. The project developers have indicated that the terminal could be moved to 5 km away and would then be virtually invisible from the shore.

Concerns about the project have long been raised by some local residents who have set up the Coastal Environmental Protection Society. The representatives stressed that they supported the withdrawal of Russian gas, but that it should be replaced by local resources, while the terminal should be constructed elsewhere if necessary.

“There are several places in Latvia where it would be possible to build the terminal, more suitable places where there is an industrial zone and the environment is intended for it, can avoid all kinds of risks,” said Juris Piziks, founder of the Coastal Environmental Protection Society.

“We want to see the comparison for all these potential terminal projects. We want to see a real technical-economic rationale,” said Marta Timrota, spokeswoman for the association. “This gas is not regasification in tanks. Instead, it is regasification in the transshipment process, which increases the possibility of gas leakage,” Timrota said.

Uldis Salmiņš, board member of the project developing AS Skulte LNG Terminal, considers safety concerns irrational. There is no way of exploding liquefied gas, and if there are leaks in the event of an error, there is no danger to the surroundings.

“Gas is methane that is lighter than air, it fades into the air, and there is also no threat or risk. It certainly is not good, CO2 emissions are produced,” Salmiņš said.

He advised the association to communicate in order to dispel the concerns. Salmiņš said the project would be able to meet the environmental impact assessment requirements during the half-year period. So far, it hasn't been done as there has been no interest from the government. 

"We know that Russia has already notified a number of countries that it has disconnected the gas supply. In our view, speed is very important. What we have always stressed is the need to give the status of an object of national interest to the project," Salmiņš said.

The Economics Ministry will present a report on terminal projects to the government by the end of May.

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