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Lithuanian Gas threatens raising gas price by 20 percent

Duju liepsna, LD nuotr.
Duju liepsna, LD nuotr.
Šaltinis: BNS

Lithuania's natural gas import and distribution company Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas) is considering increasing the price of natural gas for regulated consumers by 20 percent in the second half of this year, Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas said on Monday.

“Lietuvos Dujos recorded more than 90 million litas (EUR 26 m) in profit last year, it has decided to pay sufficient dividends. At the same time, Lietuvos Dujos, relying on Gazprom's gas supply, proposes to increase the natural gas price significantly, by up to 20 percent. We see it as a monopolist’s aspiration to boost its profits,” Sekmokas told reporters.

"These issues are being discussed by Lietuvos Dujos' management board," he added.

He could not specify precisely when the price of natural gas was going to be raised.

Diana Korsakaitė, chairwoman of the National Control Commission for Prices and Energy, said that she has no such information at the moment.

"We have not received any information as to the company's intention to increase the price starting on 1 July. But Lietuvos Dujos has several more days, until the end of April, for that," she said.

Sigita Petrikonytė-Jurkūnienė, Lietuvos Dujos’ spokeswoman, told BNS that she could not confirm information about the intentions to increase the price of gas for the meantime.

Energy Minister reiterated that Lithuania was among the European Union (EU) Member States that paid the highest price for natural gas. However, with the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal put in operation in the port of Klaipėda at the end of 2014, the price of gas for domestic consumers would match the price paid by the majority of consumers in the EU countries.

The board of Lietuvos Dujos proposed to pay 72 million litas in dividends out of last year’s audited net profit of 95.686 million litas. The decision taken by the company’s shareholders on Monday has not been unveiled as yet.

The price of natural gas for regulated users was last raised last July – by 14-21 percent, or 29-30 Lithuanian cents per cubic meter.

The rates of natural gas for household users are recalculated twice a year.

The formula set in the long-term agreement between Lietuvos Dujos and Gazprom links natural gas price to global oil prices. The economists earlier warned that the price of natural gas supplied to Lithuania should increase amid rise in crude prices seen on the global market.

Lithuania’s government has complained to the European Commission against Gazprom over possible abuses in the setting of gas prices. The dispute between the parties will be heard by Stockholm arbitration and Lithuania’s courts.

Lietuvos Dujos holds about 40 percent of Lithuania’s gas market and supplies gas to almost all household users in the country.

The Lithuanian government owns 17.70 percent of Lietuvos Dujos, which is listed on the blue-chip Main List of the NASDAQ OMX Vilnius stock exchange. Gazprom holds a 37.06 percent stake and E.ON Ruhrgas International owns 38.9 percent of shares.

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