TALLINN, Estonia—A giant floating natural gas terminal arrived October 27 in the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda as the Baltic country tries to further reduce its reliance on energy supplies from Russia.
The 300-meter South Korean-built vessel—roughly the size of an aircraft carrier—will provide four billion cubic meters of gas a year when it becomes operational, expected in December.
The three Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia get all their natural gas from Russia and lack connections to the wider European pipeline system that would allow them to import from elsewhere.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said the terminal will be able to cover 90 per cent of the gas needs of three countries, importing about 1 billion cubic meters of gas via the terminal in the first year of operation.
“We have become an energy-secure country,” she said at a ceremony to welcome the arrival of the ship in Klaipeda, according to the BNS news agency.
Moscow’s use of gas supplies as a means of applying political pressure on Ukraine has driven new urgency into projects to diversify sources. The Baltic countries have been among the swiftest in Europe to act to reduce dependence on Russia.
Finland, which also gets all its natural gas from neighbouring Russia, and Estonia are planning two new gas terminals at their end of the Baltic, as well as an undersea pipeline to connect the two countries.
The $330 million “Independence” is owned by Norway’s Hoegh LNG and leased to Lithuania’s SC Klaipedos Nafta terminal operator. It was half the price of a land-based terminal.