Lithuania Becomes First EU Member to Give Up Russian Gas
(Bloomberg) -- Lithuania has become the first member of the European Union to end its dependence on natural gas from Russia, the bloc’s biggest supplier of the fuel, according to the Baltic country’s energy minister.
Lithuanian companies cut their gas flows via Russian pipelines to zero over the weekend, without the need for a ban from the government, Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys said. He added that the government would impose such a measure if needed.
Last year, Russia directly supplied about 26% of Lithuania’s gas needs and another 12% came from storage in Latvia, according to Lithuania’s pipeline operator. The country, which is studying options to expand its liquefied natural gas terminal on the Baltic sea, will now rely on LNG imports from the U.S. and Norway, according to Kreivys.
EU members are racing to end their reliance on Russian energy, following the country’s invasion of Ukraine in February. The EU said it’s also working on additional sanctions on Russia for what appear to be war crimes in Ukraine.
“Dear EU friends, pull the plug,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, said on Twitter on Sunday. “Don’t be an accomplice.”
Just eight years ago, Lithuania fully relied on Russia’s Gazprom PSJC for its gas supplies. The government in December recommended that the country switch to LNG when the first warnings of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine emerged. Lithuania has long called on fellow EU member states to wean themselves off Russian gas.
Baltic officials warned in January of potential energy-supply disruptions after a Russian LNG vessel unexpectedly appeared in the region, stoking speculation about whether Russia was preparing for a cutoff in gas supply.
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