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Lithuania to start supplying LNG to Poland next year

Lithuanian state-controlled energy company Ignitis Group will start supplying liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Poland next year when a new pipeline between the two countries comes online, its CEO said on Monday.

The pipeline between Poland and Lithuania, called GIPL, is due to be completed by December 2021 and will also give Finland, Estonia and Latvia access to pipeline gas from continental Europe. The region currently imports pipeline gas from Russia and LNG via an import terminal at Lithuania’s Klaipeda port.

“As GIPL comes online, we expect to begin gas exports to Poland, similarly to what we did in Finland,” Ignitis Group CEO Darius Maikstenas told an online press conference on Monday.

“Potentially, most of the gas would be LNG from the port of Klaipeda,” he said.

Some of the LNG could be supplied via Poland to other markets, such as Ukraine, Maikstenas said.

Lithuania’s energy minister has previously said that the new pipeline would also be used to supply LNG from Klaipeda to a planned gas-fired power station to be built in northeast Poland.

The Klaipeda terminal imported 21.9 TWh of LNG in 2020, Ignitis Group said in its annual report, or half of its annual capacity of 39 TWh.

Poland’s LNG import terminal in Swinoujscie imported 39.9 TWh, Ignitis Group said. In 2020, Poland signed deals to expand the terminal’s capacity by 66% by 2023, as the country prepares to cease imports of Russian pipeline gas in 2022.

Russia’s Gazprom lost a third of its share of the Finnish gas market last year, after a new pipeline made it possible to import LNG via the Baltic States.

Finland imported a total 5.8 terrawathours (TWh) of gas from the Baltic States in 2020, including 3.05 TWh from Ignitis Group, the group said.

Meanwhile, Russia’s direct gas exports to Finland dropped by 35% last year to 15.7 TWh, from 24 TWh in 2019, Gazprom’s quarterly data, published on its website, showed.

Maikstenas said he expects to keep supplies to Finland in 2021 at the “same or higher level” than 2020.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Andrius Sytas; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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