14 Jul 2022 17:23

Latvian parliament approves ban on Russian natural gas supplies as of 2023

RIGA. July 14 (Interfax) - The Latvian parliament, Saeima, on Thursday adopted in the final reading amendments to the energy law stipulating a ban on natural gas supplies from Russia beginning on January 1, 2023.

The Saeima has adopted rules for specific cases when negotiating with the regulatory authorities of other European Union countries on ways to ensure the ban on natural gas supplies from Russia. The rules will apply to cases when Conexus Baltic Grid, the Latvian operator of the natural gas transmission and storage system, is negotiating with the operator of another EU country on creating a unified natural gas transmission system.

Latvijas gaze opposed the decision on completely banning gas from Russia. Aigars Kalvitis, chairman of AS Latvijas gaze's executive board, at the beginning of April 2022 said that the decision would cause an energy crisis in Latvia and drive up prices for consumers, as it would actually force Latvijas gaze to purchase gas reserves at a historically record price and store at the Incukalns underground gas storage (UGS) facilities. There would have to be talk about state-subsidized support for households in this regard, which the government began to provide at the beginning of this year at lower gas prices, since tariffs will be considerably higher.

Latvijas gaze was skeptical regarding purchasing liquefied natural gas, with company representative Anastasia Petere telling the Baltic News Service in April that the company would consider the possibility of purchasing LNG, though it was still unclear where and how that much LNG could be purchased, and how to deliver it.

Conexus Baltic Grid was decoupled from Latvijas gaze in 2017 in accordance with EU requirements and amendments to the Latvian energy law, and the functions for distributing natural gas were transferred to a 100% subsidiary, Gaso.