Lithuania PM: Belarus Gas Dispute Adds Urgency To LNG Terminal

By Paul Hannon

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Lithuania has not yet suffered any shortages of gas as a result of Russia's dispute with Belarus, but any interruption of supply will speed up government plans to build a liquefied natural gas terminal, Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said Tuesday.

Russia's state-run gas giant OAO Gazprom (GAZP.RS) earlier Tuesday said it reduced natural gas supplies to Belarus by 30% following a dispute over an unsettled gas bill of $192 million. Gazprom said Belarus had threatened to take gas destined for Europe from transit pipelines to make up the shortfall.

Lithuania's gas supply comes through Belarus, but Kubilius said there had as yet been no interruption in supply.

"At the moment we are not suffering from any shortages," he told reporters.

Kubilius said he will visit Minsk next week for meetings with Belarusian leaders that were scheduled before the gas dispute.

Kubilius said that the prices charged by Gazprom for gas had already persuaded his government that it needs to build an LNG terminal as an alternative source of energy supply.

But he added that the fresh uncertainty about supplies would give added momentum to that project.

"This is an added reason to build an LNG terminal," he said.

-Paul Hannon, Dow Jones Newswires,


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