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Published: 28 june 2013 08:09

European Commission suspends probe after Lithuania drops '25 percent rule’

Laurio Viksnės/BFL nuotr. / Dujos

The European Commission (EC) has suspended a probe against Lithuania in relation to the so-called “25 percent rule”, a legislative provision under which Lithuania’s large gas users would have to purchase 25 percent of their gas supplies from the future liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, pending the decision of the Lithuanian parliament (Seimas), the Energy Ministry officials confirm to BNS.

The decision to suspend the probe was taken after the Energy Ministry had initiated amendments to the Law on LNG terminal scrapping the rule. The Seimas passed the amendments on Thursday.

“We have been notified by the Commission that it has suspended a probe against Lithuania over potential violations of European legislation as soon as the government has decided to propose to the Seimas to scrap the 25 percent rule,” Energy Minister Jaroslav Neverovič told the vz.lt news portal.

“The pilot procedure of the European Commission has been suspended pending the Lithuanian Parliament’s decision over legislative amendments. Now the amendments have been passed and the Commission has been notified thereof. It’s now for them to decide,” Lithuania’s energy attaché to the EU Ona Kostinaitė-Grinkevičienė told BNS.

Fertilizer manufacturer Achema, Lithuania’s top gas consumer, the natural gas import and distribution company Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas), as well as two Lithuania’s associations have filed complaints with the European Commission over the mandatory purchase requirement.

EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger earlier said that the government’s plans to scrap the “25 percent rule” were acceptable.

Under the so-called “25 percent rule”, as established by the previous government, large gas consumers would have to purchase 25 percent of their annual gas supplies from the LNG facility and another 25 percent from Russia’s Gazprom, Lithuania’s sole gas supplier, starting in 2015. They would be free to choose the supplier of the remaining 50 percent.

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