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Forcing companies to purchase gas from Klaipėda LNG terminal might land Lithuania in court

Klaipėdos uostas bus parengtas Suskystintų gamtinių dujų terminalo statyboms.
Aurelijos Kripaitės/15min.lt nuotr. / Klaipėda to build a liquified natural gas terminal
Šaltinis: BNS

Both companies and officials warn that the Lithuanian government's plans to make gas purchases from the planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal obligatory are likely to run counter to EU regulations and could land the state in court, the daily Lietuvos Rytas reported on Wednesday.

The Energy Ministry is not yet certain, either, if this requirement is fully compliant with EU laws. In a document submitted to the government, the ministry's specialists warn that an analysis is needed of how the requirement would comply with competition-related legislation, it wrote.

Rimantas Stanikūnas, former chairman of the Lithuanian Competition Council and now competition advisor with the law firm Bernotas & Dominas Glimstedt, warned that the obligation to purchase gas from the terminal would violate competition law.

"I oppose any requirements to purchase from one or another source. We live in a free market economy. It is clear to everybody that we buy where it is cheaper," Achema CEO Jonas Sirvydis told the paper. However, he would not say if the company would go to court over the requirement.

Earlier this year, nitrogen fertilizer producer Achema, one of Lithuania's biggest natural gas consumers, signed a new long-term contract, effective until 2015, with Russia's gas giant Gazprom.

Lithuania's natural gas import and distribution company Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas) has so far made no comment on the issue. However, unofficially it says that the requirement goes against EU directives. Another gas supplier, Dujotekana, would like to see more cooperation between the government and suppliers.

Fourteen companies hold natural gas supply licenses in Lithuania, but only eight of them are operating.

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