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Lithuanian Ambassador Žygimantas Pavilionis used a farewell speech at Energy Allies, one of the US energy associations, to review the long struggle of Lithuania to gain energy independence. The ambassador who is returning soon to Lithuania after five years of diplomatic service in Washington, DC, evaluated current energy policy trends and their impact on global politics in front of an audience of company representatives, energy lobbyists, diplomats, politicians and Congress cabinet staff. He urged for more US energy exports to re-balance the current geo-political situation.
Lithuanian Ambassador Pavillionis Photo Ludo Segers
Lithuanian Ambassador Pavillionis Photo Ludo Segers

The ambassador sketched how Lithuania evolved from a complete energy dependence on Russia to the present situation. From the challenges of closing a Chernobyl type nuclear reactor - ten years ago - and full gas and oil dependence some 25 year ago to the present with an LNG facility in the port of Klaipėda, integration into the EU electricity grid with a soon to be completed link to Sweden and oil and gas connections to neighbouring countries. The ambassador pointed out how Lithuania has to fight constantly and face confrontation in dealing with its energy independence.

The constant threat of foreign-funded opposition to various Lithuanian energy projects destined to make the country more energy independent makes the case for strengthening relations with the United States even more important. "In our region money earned from 'energy' is still being used by an autocratic regime to wage war and to kill people, while the USA is still not fully using the energy resources for its strategic potential," said the ambassador. Pavilionis added that Lithuania is consistently supporting the liberalisation of US energy exports and he expressed the hope that it will lead to a strong link between energy and democracy. Ambassador Pavilionis noted that this relationship must be reflected in the relevant sections of the forthcoming EU-US transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) agreement.

Several in the audience supported the ambassador's view that liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the US should be used to help build and balance the global natural gas market. In doing so they stated that these actions could be instrumental in stopping the monopolistic ambitions of large suppliers and helping countries such as Lithuania achieve an effective energy independence. Ambassador Pavilionis lamented the long delays, some related to the lengthy process of building infrastructure. He said: "We do not want to wait until 2025, we do need these energy products now."

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