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Lithuania still interested in buying the Klaipeda LNG terminal's vessel from its owner

BC, Vilnius, 02.05.2016.Print version
Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis says that Lithuania remains interested in buying the Klaipeda liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal's vessel from its owner, Norway's Hoegh LNG, before the 10-year charter contract expires in 2024, but it is difficult to say if meetings to be held by Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius and him in Oslo this week will help move the talks forward, reports LETA/BNS.

"We are seeking to purchase the vessel early and my position is that this could make gas in Lithuania cheaper, because if we acquired the terminal, we could spread its costs over a longer period of time and reduce the terminal-related tariff component by around 20%," Masiulis told reporters after the Cabinet's meeting on Monday.


"That means about 15 million euros of our taxpayers' money. But the Norwegians seem to be unwilling to do so at the moment," he said.


The minister said that he could not say if this week's visit to Oslo would help convince Hoegh LNG to sell the floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) before the expiry of the charter period.


"It's difficult to say. We'll see. But the process is going on. This is a two-way issue. We may want, but we'll see what they offer," he said.


Butkevicius, Masiulis and Dalius Misiunas, CEO of the state energy group Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy), are to meet with officials from Hoegh LNG and Statoil, Lithuania's key gas supplier, during their visit to Oslo on Tuesday and Wednesday.


Mantas Bartuska, CEO of Klaipedos Nafta (Klaipeda Oil), the Klaipeda LNG terminal's operator, has told BNS that since Hoegh LNG does not agree to sell the vessel earlier, decisions are being made on purchasing the FSRU after the charter contract expires.


According to him, the company is in talks to borrow money from banks now and if a decision to purchase the vessel is made, its costs could be reducing by spreading them over a period of 15 to 20 years.


The charter contract for the 170,000-cubic-meter FSRU, named Independence, took effect in early 2014 and will expire in December 2024. Under the contract, which was signed in March 2012, the lease costs Klaipedos Nafta 68.9 million US dollars (EUR 60.4 mln) annually.


The contract gives the terminal's operator an option to purchase the vessel after the charter period expires in late 2024. Lithuania last year asked Hoegh LNG to sell it the FSRU earlier, but the Norwegian company then gave a negative answer. The purchase price has not been disclosed to the public.

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