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Lithuania's talks with the European Commission on EU funding for the acquisition of the Klaipėda liquefied natural gas ( LNG) terminal's vessel will depend on whether Latvia and Estonia recognize it as a regional facility, Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas said.
Independence, Klaipeda LNG terminal's floating storage and regasification unit
© DELFI (E.Skardžiaus nuotr.)

"Naturally, we could expect European support if it were a regional terminal not only de facto, but also de jure. A lot depends on how Latvia and Estonia see the prospects of this terminal, because we are speaking about a conceptually new project as what we have until 2024 is lease and financial support for lease is not possible," he told BNS in an interview.

In Vaiciunas' words, a deal on financial support for the acquisition of the vessel is also linked to the creation of a common gas market of the Baltic countries.

"In addition to talks with the European Commission, we are working on the issue of creating a regional gas market in the Baltic countries and Finland. The prime ministers have signed specific action plans in this regard. The aim is to have a liquid gas market," he said.

According to unofficial information available to BNS, Lithuania seeks around 100 million euros in support from the Commission.

Lithuania has failed to reach a deal with Norway's Hoegh LNG, the owner of the Independence, the Klaipeda terminal's floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), to purchase the vessel before the 10-year lease contract expires in 2024.

Klaipėdos Nafta pays Hoegh LNG 68.9 million dollars per year, including the ship's crew, maintenance and operation expenses.