The situation in the Lithuanian gas market has changed materially in recent years and now it’s up to the country to decide where to buy gas, the country's energy minister has said in comments about antitrust charges on Wednesday filed by the European Commission (EC) against the Russian gas concern Gazprom.
Rokas Masiulis
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

“Now Lithuania is buying gas from the sources justified in commercial terms. However, we don’t want to discard any sources since we need competition. We have a [LNG] terminal, we have a possibility to buy from Gazprom, now we can buy from other sources, if we manage to agree with other suppliers once the interconnection with Poland is in place. Now it’s up to us to decide where to buy,” Rokas Masiulis told the LRT Radio on Wednesday night.

He assured that the price of gas would be the key criterion when choosing the supplier.

“The price will be the most important criterion. On the other hand, we will definitely seek to maintain our advantage that we have a number of alternatives to choose from. Therefore we will not discard any single source artificially so as to always have a possibility to buy,” Masiulis said.

The statement of objections sent to Gazprom by the European Commission confirmed Lithuania’s concerns that the Russian gas giant had hindered competition, he said.

Masiulis confirmed that the authorities were now negotiating a new gas supply contract with Gazprom but refused to disclose any details.

“Talks are ongoing but there are no specific results as yet. We still have the whole year ahead and we’ll see what will happen. However, Lithuania is a stable partner. The supply of gas through Lithuania has always been reliable,” the minister said.

The European Commission said on Wednesday that Gazprom might have charged unfair gas prices and abused its monopoly power in Lithuania and some other Central and Eastern European countries.

Margrethe Vestager, the Union’s Commissioner in charge of competition policy, said on Wednesday that the prices Gazprom charged in some countries were up to 40 percent higher than in other countries. According to media reports, the price paid by Lithuania was the highest – even higher than the prices paid by Latvia or Estonia.

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