On 15 December, Lithuania's Ministry of Energy held a meeting of the Committee of Senior Energy Officials of the Baltic Council of Ministers (BCM) to address the development of a regional gas market and to cooperate on the synchronisation of the Baltic states' power systems with the networks of Continental Europe, the ministry reports.
A gas storage facility in Inčukalns, Latvia
© DELFI (E.Savicko nuotr.)

The main priorities of Lithuania's BCM presidency in 2015 were the acceleration of the integration the Baltic States' power systems into Central Europe's networks, the enhancement of the Baltic region's energy security, and the development of a common energy market.

The participants of the meeting agreed to introduce high-level political monitoring in order to achieve the goals set by the Regional Gas Market Coordination Group (RGMCG) in time and take part in the drafting of an action plan for the development of the regional gas market, which will be presented at the next BCM meeting of prime ministers.

"The creation of the RGMCG this year has become an example of close regional cooperation in the development of the common gas market in the European Union. Now it is necessary to ensure high level political control and timely implementation of the set goals," said Lithuania's Deputy Minister of Energy Aleksandras Spruogis.

The RGMCG is comprised of representatives from the Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and Finnish ministries responsible for energy policy, energy regulator representatives and regional gas infrastructure operator representatives.

"Lithuania's presidency of the BCM witnessed the signing of key agreements between Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland on measures aimed for the development of a common, liberalized and well-functioning regional gas market. An agreement was reached on short-term and medium-term measures and the date of their implementation, with an aim of improving the functioning of the regional gas market. It is great that some of these measures were implemented in the first six months," said Spruogis.

Among these measures were an agreement between the Baltic States on the harmonisation of gas quality specifications, regulations on third-party access to gas transmission and storage infrastructure approved by Latvia, and the decision by Baltic energy regulators to set up a work group responsible for the coordination of the implementation of European gas network requirements. A feasibility study into the development of the Finland-Baltic gas market, which was commissioned by gas transmission system operators from the Baltic States and Finland, was started in August this year. The feasibility study will examine possible regional gas market model, assess their costs and benefits, and provide recommendations for the implementation of the most suitable model. The feasibility study should be completed in February 2016.

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