Exiting Russian gas market supported by Latvian Saeima

At its meeting on April 28, Latvia's parliament, the Saeima, supported amendments to the Energy Law, which provide for a ban on Russian natural gas supplies to Latvia from January 1, 2023. 

The decision was supported by 57 members, while one – Jūlija Stepaņenko – was against it. Nine members abstained. There are 100 Saeima deputies in all.

There was a debate on what will replace Russian natural gas. As reported, Latvia is planning to build an LNG terminal of its own. Estonia is planning to do likewise, while Lithuania already has its own LNG terminal.

During the debate in the Saeima, MP Reinis Znotiņš (Conservatives) said that 75% of electricity is produced in Latvia, while approximately 90% of the natural gas needed by Latvia has been purchased from Russia so far, paying around €400 million annually. 

"Time to wake up from the long winter sleep in the bear's claws, time to wake up and end the energy dependency on Russia. [Time to] refuse Russian gas, not sponsor Russian aggression, the Russian state, and be energy independent," said Znotiņš, noting that it is time to develop its LNG terminal in Latvia.

Viktors Valainis, deputy of the opposition party Greens and Farmers, said that if Latvia goes this route of sanctions by abandoning Russian natural gas, then it is necessary to do as much as possible for such a ban to be enforced throughout the European Union. Otherwise “we will be the biggest losers” he warned.

 

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