Lithuania had the highest gas and electricity prices in Europe. The Baltic countries were 100 % dependent on a single gas supplier, in particular, Russian Gasprom. We were extremely vulnerable to any supply disruptions. We ended that era one year ago by establishing LNG terminal in Klaipeda. It carries symbolic name – The Independence. It opens region for the world market. It decreases dependence on Russian gas. This investment is already paying off because the gas prices went down significantly just in one year.
If you look into the issue of European energy security, the Baltic countries used to be the area that was once regarded as energy islands. Now it’s becoming the most advanced region in Europe in terms of improving connections. We are talking and cooperating with our neighbours. We are putting the focus on the interconnectivity between Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. We have similar understanding of the impact that comes from the LNG Terminal that could cover 90% of total demand in the Baltics. Interconnection of the Baltic countries connects not just those countries but also links them with the world.
By putting all those together we benefit from in particular the integrated market, which means that we can freely access and benefit from reasonable market prices. Furthermore, we ensured energy security in the event of crises. Availability of alternative gas supply changes the market. Even if we do not use that alternative.
The LNG Terminal in Klaipeda became a kicking game changer in the region and further developments are needed to ensure further market developments that would bring the liquidity, common market rules order to enhance the attractiveness of the LNG traders to come to the region.
LNG terminal does not only mean security of supply but also competitiveness of the region. All three Baltic states separately are small markets but all together they become much more appealing in the regional and European markets. In the event on LNGT terminals, that I hosted in partnership with the Natural Gas Europe and Geopolitica, it was clearly stated that the buyers and the sellers are the winners together with regard to increased security of demand.
Gas plays a key role in the EU energy system and will continue to be of major importance. The security, affordability and sustainability of the EU gas system are therefore critical to success of the Energy Union. The Baltic countries and Poland are already on the way for the regional cooperation. From the European prospect, it is also very important for the Croatia to develop its LNG Terminal and for the Southern European Countries to enhance their cooperation in interconnections and diversification of the supply.
From the geopolitical perspective, we need to keep constant pressure on those who make politics out of gas prices in order to prevent one more crisis like the one in Ukraine.