"For Lithuania, this is perhaps the greatest achievement in the field of energy since the launch of the Būtingė terminal," Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas said during the signing ceremony in Vilnius.
The minister said that the terminal will ensure the security of supply and compliance with the so-called European N-1 standard and create conditions for the emergence of a natural gas market. He added that the alternative supply route should help Lithuania in its talks with Russia's gas giant Gazprom.
"Today we have no levers to influence Gazprom," Sekmokas said.
The contract was signed by Klaipėdos Nafta CEO Rokas Masiulis and Hoegh LNG President Sveinung Stohle.
Hoegh LNG is to ensure that the vessel arrives in Klaipėda by the end of 2014.
Klaipėdos Nafta signed the contract on the lease, operation and maintenance of the FSRU for 10 years with the right to buy the unit. The FSRU could be operated for another 30 years.
The lease of the FSRU will cost Klaipėdos Nafta 689 million US dollars over ten years. The lease period is planned to begin in the second half of 2014. The Norwegian company will not only lease the vessel with the crew, but will also provide maintenance and operational services.
Energy Minister Sekmokas has said recently that Lithuania would save about 2.5 billion litas (EUR 725 mln) in ten years if it imported natural gas through the LNG terminal at current prices.
Investments by Norway’s Hoegh LNG in a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) for Lithuania’s planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal will total 313 million US dollars (LTL 815 mln, EUR 236.2 mln), in addition to the operating costs during ten years of FSRU’s lease to Klaipėdos Nafta.
„The overall investment for us in the unit is in the region of 313 million US dollars. That’s only the investment, and, of course, you would need to have the operating costs over the length of the contract,” Hoegh LNG President Sveinung Stohle told the reporters after the signing of contract with Klaipėdos Nafta on Friday.
The lease of the FSRU will cost 156,200 US dollars (ex VAT) or 189,000 US dollars (VAT included) per day, or 689 million US dollars over ten years, for Klaipedos Nafta.
“It’s the market price. Moreover, we have to consider all details of the contract, not just the rate – all projects are different,” Stohle said.
Stohle assured that the vessel would be delivered in time. “Without any doubt. These vessels are always delivered in time and in accordance with the planned budget, and they function right in line with the technical specifications,” he said.
Klaipedos Nafta intends to finance the terminal with its own funds.
“Our project is being managed in such a way so as to avoid the need of funding from the budget during the entire [10-year lease] period, so that Klaipėdos Nafta, if possible, could do that with its own funds, and the port of Klaipeda could use its own funds where the port’s funding is needed. And after the launch of operations, at the end of 2014, other costs will then be covered from operating income”, Klaipėdos Nafta CEO Rokas Masiulis told the reporters after the signing ceremony.
“After ten years we will have a very good option to acquire this vessel. We cannot disclose the price,” he said adding that the vessel could be used for further 30 years after the purchase.
Norway’s company will lease the vessel with the crew and will also provide its maintenance and operation services.
Masiulis said that the company expected to sign a gas supply contract by the end of 2012, with about a billion cubic meters of gas expected to be pumped via the terminal in the first year.
It is planned that the LNG terminal, estimated to cost about 200 million euros, will have an annual capacity of 2 billion to 3 billion cubic meters.
Under the plan, the FSRU will be moored at the so-called Kiaulės Nugara (Pig's Back), in the southern part of the Klaipėda port, and will be connected to the country's gas network via a new pipeline to be built by Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas) between Klaipėda and Jurbarkas. The pipeline project is being 50-percent financed by Lietuvos Dujos and the rest by the state.