Lithuania claims to have completely cut itself off from Russian gas supplies, making it the first of the European Union’s 27 member states to use Russian gas to sever its energy reliance on Moscow.
“Seeking full energy independence from Russian gas, Lithuania has totally abandoned Russian gas in reaction to Russia’s energy blackmail in Europe and the war in Ukraine,” Lithuania’s energy ministry said in a statement late Saturday, adding that the step took effect in early April.
On Saturday, Lithuania managed to decrease its Russian gas imports to zero, a significant step toward achieving energy independence in the 2.8 million-strong former Soviet republic, according to the government.
“We are the first EU nation among Gazprom’s supplier countries to achieve independence from Russian gas supplies,” Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys said. “This is the outcome of a multi-year coordinated energy policy and timely infrastructure choices.”
President Gitanas Nauseda of Lithuania sent out an uplifting tweet, urging other European countries to do the same.
“From this month onwards, there will be no Russian gas in Lithuania.” Years ago, my country took decisions that now allow us to terminate energy relations with the aggressor without suffering. If we can accomplish it, so can the rest of Europe!” Nausea sent sent a tweet.
In 2015, virtually all of Lithuania’s gas supply came from Russian imports, but the situation has altered dramatically in recent years when the nation opened an off-shore LNG import facility in the port city of Klaipeda in 2014.
According to the energy ministry, all gas for domestic consumption in Lithuania will henceforth be imported through the LNG terminal in Klaipeda.
Last year, a Russian gas pipeline supplied 26% of Lithuania’s gas, while an LNG terminal in Klaipeda supplied 62 percent, and a gas storage in Latvia supplied the remaining 12%.
Latvia and Estonia, Baltic neighbors, are likewise largely reliant on Russian gas, but the operator of Latvia’s natural gas storage claimed that as of April 2, none of the three Baltic republics were importing Russian gas.
On Saturday, Uldis Bariss, the CEO of Conexus Baltic Grid, informed Latvian media that gas reserves kept underground in Latvia were now serving the Baltic gas market.
Last month, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte stated that the LNG terminal in Klaipeda would not be able to supply gas to all three Baltic nations.
As a remedy, Estonia’s government has proposed that an LNG terminal be built at the Estonian port town of Paldiski, which is not far from the capital, Tallinn, in collaboration with Latvia and Nordic neighbor Finland.