First Tanker With US-Produced LNG for Lithuania Leaves Behind 'Political' Wake

© AFP 2023 / PETRAS MALUKASThis first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal "Independence" comes through the sea gate port of Klaipeda on October 27, 2014
This first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal Independence comes through the sea gate port of Klaipeda on October 27, 2014 - Sputnik International
The delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States to Lithuania is mainly motivated by political reasons, Vladimir Feygin, president of the Energy and Financial Institute, told Radio Sputnik.

"Of course, there is a combination of political reasons and Washington’s interests in this case. The US wants to show that its plan [to supply LNG to eastern European countries] is already working," Feygin pointed out.

Lithuania has received its first shipment of American-produced LNG, as the result of an agreement between Lithuania’s state-owned trader Lietuvos Duju Tiekimas and Cheniere Marketing International. The LNG tanker from Sabine Pass in the US moored in the port of Klaipeda on Monday.

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According to the expert, Lithuania wants to show that it has implemented diversification of energy supplies.

"This shipment is not large and cannot satisfy Lithuania’s need for natural gas. However, it is kind of demonstrative gesture," he said.

Feygin also underscored that the  LNG currently being exported from the US is much more expensive than Russian natural gas.

"There is no doubt that the political factor is prevalent in this case. I can’t see any other logic in these supplies," he said.

The deal was signed in June as part of Lithuania’s efforts to reduce dependence on Russian gas supplies and consolidate ties with Washington. The agreement envisages LNG deliveries of 140,000 cubic meters.

According to Lithuanian Energy Minister Zygimantas Vaiciunas, the American gas will boost competitiveness in the regional energy market.

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Lithuania expects more LNG supplies from Cheniere in 2017. The country also purchases LNG from Norway, Nigeria and Trinidad and Tobago. The government estimated Lithuania will import half of its 2017 domestic gas consumption in the form of LNG.

On June 8, the US delivered its first LNG shipment to Poland, as part of a plan to cut Warsaw's reliance on Russian imports.

According to energy industry analysts, the US is expected to become a net exporter of natural gas by next year, largely thanks to the country's LNG exports.

Washington has long been arguing for the geopolitical importance of LNG exports to Europe, saying it would help European allies decrease dependence on Russian energy imports. However, the cost of shipping natural gas from the US to Europe remains high and requires sizable infrastructure investments.

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