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Lithuanian LNG port looking to become regional hub

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According to Reuters, the operator of the Klaipeda LNG terminal in Lithuania has said that the terminal will more than double its LNG volumes once gas pipelines to Finland and Poland open after 2021.

The operator added that this would transform the port into a regional supply hub. According to Reuters, the import facility – the Independence – was constructed in 2014, and has largely imported Norwegian LNG for domestic consumption. It has reportedly used between a fifth and a third of its annual capacity of 2.7 million t of LNG, but started to diversify in late 2017, as it imported its first US LNG cargo.

According to Reuters, Mindaugas Jusius, the CEO of Klaipedos, said: “We certainly see an interest from international trading houses to use this infrastructure – the terminal and the upcoming pipelines – to access gas markets in central and eastern Europe.

“We keep getting queries whether we have capacities available for this. The nearest LNG terminal to ours, in Poland, is fully booked until 2035.

“Our ambition is to achieve terminal utilisation of 40 to 50%.”

The Swinoujscie LNG terminal in Poland is located 295 miles away on the Baltic Coast, and is scheduled for expansion to 5.4 million tpy by 2021. In doing so, it is looking to capitalise on the increased gas demand in central Europe and decrease dependence on gas from Russia.

Russia’s Kaliningrad is located between the two ports and only this January opened its own LNG import terminal for domestic requirements. According to Reuters, the GIPL pipeline to Poland is scheduled to open in 2021. With this, Jusius added, comes the prospect of Lithuania supplying Ukraine. This would help to diversify Ukraine’s gas supplies.

According to Reuters, the Klaipedos CEO went on to say that the company is also taking part in the development of four LNG import terminals in Europe, Central America and South America. In doing so, the company is looking to establish itself as a shareholder and long-term operator.

Reuters reports that one of these projects could reach a final investment decision (FID) as early as this year, with another aiming to do so by 2020.

In 2018, Lithuania took the decision to carry on importing LNG until at least 2044. According to Reuters, by late 2022 the company will make a decision regarding whether or not to purchase a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) from Hoegh LNG.

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