Latvia opens its gas market as it seizes control from Russia

By bne IntelliNews April 3, 2017

The Latvian gas market opened up to liberalisation on April 3 following entry into force of a number of legal changes. Riga has fought hard to end control of the gas transmission and storage infrastructure by Russia-controlled monopolist Latvijas Gaze (LG).

Latvia has now joined neighbours Lithuania and Estonia in wresting control of their gas grids from Russia. Any gas trader registered with the Latvian energy market regulator will now be able to supply gas via the grid. Until today, only Latvijas Gaze could use the grid, a situation which Riga has long seen as a threat to energy security, especially in the context of heightened tensions in the region.

Prompted by the European Union, which disallows common ownership of transmission and supply, Latvia is in the process of unbundling LG. Riga pushed the company to spin off an independent entity – Conexus Baltic Grid - to manage the country’s grid in December. The division of LG into trading and distribution companies is moving forward, although not without difficulty.

"From the open natural gas market, we expect competition between traders, a more diverse range of services and greater choice for all natural gas consumers,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Arvils Aseradens said in a statement.

“In parallel, we are working to create by 2020 the Baltic regional market in natural gas, which will give us greater security of supply and energy independence in the future," he added.

Opening of the market gives neighbouring Lithuania a chance to sell LNG it receives via a terminal opened in late 2015. Lithuania seeks to give the terminal a stronger business foundation; the project offers Vilnius considerable leverage over the region's dominant supplier Gazprom, but has been criticized as uneconomical.

The competition will be fierce, however. As many as 15 companies were registered with the Latvian regulator at the end of March as gas suppliers, The Baltic Times reports.

Most are Latvian companies: Latvijas Gaze, Latvenergo, Enefit, AJ Power Gas, ESK Sistemas, Euro Energo Company, Frenzo, GEG, Latvijas Propana Gaze, Rigas Gaze, Scener, Daugavpils Siltumtikli and WIN Baltic. Lithuanian companies Lietuvos Duju Tiekimas and Litgas complete the pack. 

 

Related Articles

Russia offers Latvian port a slice of the Nord Stream pie

The Latvian port of Ventspils has been asked to store and handle delivery of pipes for Nord Stream 2, the controversial Russian gas pipeline project, the chairman of the port said on April 20. The ... more

Poland eyeing second LNG terminal

Gaz-System has selected a contractor to carry out a feasibility study on the construction of a second Polish LNG terminal, the state-owned gas grid operator said on March 27. Poland has recently ... more

Latvia heads off Russian gas mischief with legislation on strategic companies

The Latvian parliament passed amendments to national security and commercial laws on March 23, handing the state the power to block the sale of companies considered strategic. The legislation will ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or purchase 12 months full website access including the bne Magazine for just $119/year.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Dismiss