Lithuanian Gas Terminal Faces Financial Trouble. “Case Study” for Poland

13 sierpnia 2015, 12:36

LNG Terminal in Klaipėda (in fact – maintained in a form of FSRU – floating storage and regasification unit) is becoming more and more burdensome for the state-controlled Klaipėdos Nafta company which manages the vessel. The above results, inter alia, from the high costs of leasing the unit, and from the resistance on the part of the Hoegh LNG company owning the vessel – Hoegh LNG does not want to sell the ship prematurely. The situation shows that even though the Polish investment model, the aim of which is to make it possible to receive the LNG, is free of the burdens imposed in case of Lithuania, the Świnoujście Gas-Terminal financing procedures will have to be optimized.

The Lithuanian media report that the Vilnius authorities are trying to implement measures which would lead to optimization of the growing costs related to maintenance of the Klaipėda LNG terminal. Due to the above, negotiations were being carried out, involving the Hoegh LNG company (owner of the terminal). The talks covered the potential possibility of purchasing the unit earlier, as the floating gas terminal has been leased to Lithuania for a period of 10 years. The talks ended up in a fiasco, which means that Lithuania is going to spend an amount which is equivalent to PLN 2.5 billion – which is more or less equal to the expenditure covered by Poland, when it was decided to create a gas terminal in Świnoujście.

And the above is just the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to the Lithuanian problems. It is evident that the Klaipėda facility faces great trouble, within the scope of gas sales. Latvia is not interested in purchasing the gas coming from Lithuania. Sales are impossible also in case of Ukraine, since Gazprom does not agree to transfer the “blue fuel” through the Belarus pipelines. At the moment, the gas import operations, originating from the FSRU managed by Klaipėdos Nafta, are realized by Estonia. However, the quantity is symbolic (back in June – 4.7 million cubic meters). Meanwhile, as it is stressed by the Lithuanian PM, Algridas Butkievicius, consumption of gas in Lithuania is being decreased. It is estimated that, by 2016, gas consumption is going to be decreased by 38%, in comparison with 2010. Thus, external markets would be of key value, should the operations of the Klaipėda terminal be maintained...

Tough situation faced by the Lithuanian leads us to several conclusions, within the context of the LNG terminal which is being erected in Świnoujście:

  • The facility located in Poland is in a better position geographically, since it is placed between Germany and Scandinavia, also close to the Czech Republic and Slovakia. From the business-driven perspective, the above constitutes a great value. The situation faced by the Lithuanian gas terminal is completely different. Thus, that situation confirms the European Commission’s stance, according to which the Baltic states and Finland shall carry out negotiations and talks pertaining a joint LNG terminal. Despite the above recommendations, Lithuania rushed ahead and decided to create its own facility, similarly as Estonia and Finland, both of which decided take the required effort together.
  • Moreover, as it is proven by Lithuania, finalization of the construction works related to the object, the purpose of which is to receive the liquid natural gas, opens a tough stage of looking for an optimal financing model for the newly established plant. In reality, the Polish gas terminal is going to base its profit, throughout a period of 20 years, on regasification of the resources delivered by Qatargas. Nonetheless, the above process would consume 33% of the total power of the facility. Thus it would be crucial to sign new agreements, however, the future price of the imported gas is going to constitute the key factor here.

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