Lithuania plans LNG terminal by 2014

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Lithuania will build a Baltic Sea liquefied natural gas terminal by 2014 aimed at reducing the Baltic state's dependence on Russian supplies, a senior government official said.

The floating terminal worth some 200 million euros (281 million dollars) will be located in Lithuania's Klaipeda port, Deputy Energy Minister Romas Svedas said as he unveiled plans drafted by a special task force.

Russian energy giant Gazprom is Lithuania's only natural gas supplier, via a pipeline across Belarus, and Vilnius has felt the adverse effects of feuds between Moscow and Minsk in the past.

"This (LNG) alternative will reduce Lithuanian dependence on one external supplier and strengthen the security of gas supplies to Lithuanian consumers," Svedas said.

Lithuania also hopes to build gas and electric power links to neighbouring countries, as well as a new nuclear power plant, to strengthen its energy independence alongside fellow Baltic EU states Latvia and Estonia.

Dubbed an "energy island" within the EU, all three ex-Soviet republics are trying to ease their energy dependence on Russia dating from the Soviet era by building links within the EU, particularly with Nordic states and Poland.

© 2010 AFP

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