Energy, Financial Services, Gas, Legislation, Lithuania

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Sunday, 18.08.2019, 18:25

Lithuania's Achemos Grupe turns to president, PM, Brussels in Klaipedos Nafta row

BC, Vilnius, 16.07.2019.Print version
Achemos Grupe, the largest minority shareholder of the state-controlled energy terminals operator Klaipedos Nafta (Klaipeda Oil), has turned to the Lithuanian president, the prime minister and the European Commission over plans to transfer the company's liquefied natural gas business to a subsidiary, informed LETA/BNS.

Achemos Grupe complains to the country's top leaders and the EU's executive body over what it describes as an unlawful reorganization of Klaipedos Nafta by the Energy Ministry and an alleged violation of the rights of minority shareholders in the process. 

"We draw their attention to the fact that the Energy Ministry is carrying out an unlawful reorganization of Klaipedos Nafta by transferring its LNG terminal activities to SGD Terminalas, a subsidiary company set up by Klaipedos Nafta itself, in violation of the law," Achemos Grupe CEO Mindaugas Deksnys said in a press release.  

The group, which holds a 10.41% stake in Klaipedos Nafta, wants the new company to maintain the existing shareholder structure. It claims that the interests of other shareholders will be violated if Klaipedos Nafta becomes the subsidiary's sole shareholder. 

As a solution to resolve the dispute and reduce the LNG terminal's costs this year, the Energy Ministry has suggested that the group should withdraw its claim, which it submitted in late June, and guarantee that it will not contest in court new decisions by Klaipedos Nafta's shareholders.  

However, Achemos Grupe does not intend to do so. Gintaras Balciunas, deputy chairman of the group's management board, told that such proposals could be treated as blackmail.

Energy Minister Zygimantas Vaiciunas said after a meeting with Achemos Grupe's management in early July that the transfer of the LNG terminal business to the subsidiary company was a lawful move aimed at reducing the so-called LNG terminal security component of the gas tariff. Currently, Achemos Grupe pays a large part of the charge. 

According to some experts familiar with the process, if the ministry and the group fail to come to an agreement now, Klaipedos Nafta's situation will neither worsen nor improve, but the planned reduction of the security component and, hence the burden on consumers, will be postponed until 2020 when a key decision on the acquisition of the FSRU Independence in 2024 is to be made. 

These experts also note that a lower charge would not only reduce the costs of Achema and other large gas consumers by around 20 mln euros per year, but would also help boost gas consumption in the region and encourage exports and the creation of a regional gas market.


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