Latvia's parliament, the Saeima, passed amendments to energy law, opening up the country's gas market to external suppliers, including, potentially, to Lithuania's liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal.
Inčukalns gas storage facility
© DELFI (E.Savicko nuotr.)

New suppliers will be able to offer gas to Latvian consumers starting in 2017.

Latvia is the last of the Baltic states to open up its market to competition. Until now, the country has been buying all its gas from the monopolist Latvijas Gaze, partially owned by Russia's state-owned behemoth Gazprom.

Latvijas Gaze is also the owner of the Inčukalns gas storage facility, but an old agreement with Gazprom prevents it from keeping more than 100 million cubic metres of gas in reserve.

Lithuania has been waiting anxiously for the opening of Latvia's gas market, as the LNG terminal has become an expensive tool without someone to sell the gas that Lithuanian consumers do not use to. Now, the company in charge of the terminal will probably try to supply Latvia with gas.

The amendments still need to be signed into law by the Latvian president.

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