The Baltic states of Estonia and Lithuania have set a target to decouple from the Russian power grid in early 2025, ending three decades of dependence on Moscow, Reuters reports.
"As a compromise, we're (are) agreeing to bring this deadline a year closer. So, leaving in the beginning of 2025," Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told Reuters at a NATO summit in Vilnius last week.
"We see what happens in Ukraine, where people are being killed and bombs continue to fall – I don't think it's the right choice to keep cooperating with the aggressor just because this saves a few cents," Rokas Masiulis, the chief of the Lithuanian power grid operator Litgrid, told reporters on Monday.
Back in 2018, the Baltic states as well as Poland and the European Commission signed a deal backed by 1.6 billion euros ($1.61 billion) in European funding to upgrade their infrastructure and disconnect from the Russian grid by 2025.
Many western nations continue distancing themselves from Russia with varying degrees of success. Europe, Russia’s largest customer of most energy commodities, especially natural gas. Has dramatically cut down its imports of Russian energy supplies following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Gas exports from Gazprom to Switzerland and the EU fell by 55% in 2022, the state-owned firm reported earlier this month.
The United States has stopped all oil imports from Russia but still buys most of its enriched uranium from Russia
But Russia itself is also dependent on its neighbors for critical infrastructure. Gazprom has maintained gas flows to Europe via Sokhranovka point despite an ongoing transit dispute with Ukraine’s Naftogaz. Ukrainian transit flows have remained stable at slightly above 40 million cubic meters per day according to data from Gazprom, as reported by Energy Intelligence.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller had earlier threatened to slap sanctions on Naftogaz as it continues to pursue an arbitration case for non-payment of transit fees by Gazprom. According to Naftogaz the "funds were not paid by Gazprom, neither on time nor in full" for the gas transit. Last year, Ukraine suspended the flow of gas through Sokhranovka, which delivers almost a third of the fuel piped from Russia to Europe through Ukraine.
By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com
Alex Kimani is a veteran finance writer, investor, engineer and researcher for Safehaven.com.