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Lithuania today received its first cargo of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) as it tries to diversify its gas supplies away from Russia, despite Moscow’s insistence that the United States can’t replace Russian gas in Europe even if it gave it away.
While Russia is undermining the U.S. shipments to Europe, Lithuania is Central and Eastern Europe’s second country to have received U.S. LNG cargo after Poland.
In June, Lithuania’s state-held gas trader Lietuvos Duju Tiekimas signed a deal with Cheniere Marketing International to buy LNG directly from the U.S., adding to the growing list of customers of America’s LNG cargoes. The Lithuanian company expected to receive the first U.S. LNG cargo delivery in the second half of August.
Poland was the first country in Central and Eastern Europe, where Russia’s Gazprom reigns supreme, to have received U.S. LNG earlier this year.
Early today local time, an LNG tanker from the Sabine Pass moored at the Klaipeda terminal on the Baltic Sea in Lithuania.
Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevicius, tweeted on Monday that the U.S. and Lithuanian partnership was growing stronger and the first LNG shipment from the U.S. is “crucially important for whole region.”
The LNG is destined for supplies in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. The U.S. government has not been involved in the private company agreements between the Lithuanian company and Cheniere, Howard Solomon, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Lithuania, told Reuters.
In a sign that this would not be Lithuania’s only LNG cargo delivery from the U.S., the Lithuanian Energy Ministry said last month that the company Lietuvos Duju Tiekimas had booked additional LNG capacity for U.S. cargoes at the Klaipeda terminal.
In the meantime, Moscow is sticking to its guns.
“Even if Americans supplied liquefied gas to Europe free of charge, they simply would not have had enough capabilities to replace the Russian supplies,” Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s envoy to the European Union (EU), said last week, as quoted by Russian media.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.