Europe backs Lithuanian LNG terminal

Nov. 21, 2013 at 8:04 AM
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BRUSSELS, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Financial aid to Lithuania for a liquefied natural gas terminal will help the country diversify its energy sector, a director in the European Commission said.

The European Commission signed off on $600 million in aid to help with the construction and operation of the LNG terminal planned for the Klaipeda seaport in Lithuania.

"The aid will reduce Lithuania's dependence on a single source of gas supplies and enhance its security of supply," Joaquin Almunia, the commission's vice president in charge of competition policy, said in a statement Wednesday.

The EC provided few specifics about the project, only to say it would provide an additional layer of energy security to Lithuania by 2014.

Lithuania depends exclusively on Russian energy company Gazprom for its natural gas and pays some of the highest prices for those reserves in the European Union. Lithuania, a former Soviet republic, is isolated from the European natural gas transmission network.

The EU has supported projects meant to break Russia's grip on the regional energy sector. That ambition was enhanced when, in 2009, Gazprom cut gas supplies to Ukraine, which hosts a major gas transmission network, because of contractual disputes.

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