Lithuania Will Receive a Gas Pipeline Shutoff If Russian LNG Is Banned

The painful shame of Lithuanian politicians for the “Independence” liquified natural gas terminal, which was created under anti-Russian slogans and switched to Russian gas supplies, naturally led to a call to ban the terminal’s customers from buying liquified natural gas from Russia. Such wishes are already expressed at the level of the presidency. If such a decision is made, Lithuania may be left without pipeline gas, because in its recent history there have already been excesses when Lithuania’s entire Russian energy community was boycotted for outright hostility against its colleagues.

The Lithuanian president’s Energy Adviser Jarosław Niewierowicz stated that the “Independence” liquified natural gas terminal in Klaipeda should not be used for the purchase of Russian liquified natural gas. “In the long term, no doubt, the terminal should remain an alternative supply channel, and the terminal built with the money of Lithuanian taxpayers should not be given to players from the East,” said the adviser to the President of Lithuania.

The former Minister of Energy of Lithuania is not the first Lithuanian figure to make such a statement. Lithuanian conservatives have been demanding to do something with Russian liquified natural gas purchases since the spring of this year, i.e., since “Independence” began acquiring the Russian product.

Over the past months adherents of Landsbergis have conducted polls on whether or not it is permissible to buy “Putin’s” liquified natural gas simply because it is cheaper than any other, initiated parliamentary hearings, and proposed to restrict the import of liquified natural gas from Russia by law. It’s all for nothing. During their rapid activity, the Lithuanian liquified natural gas terminal moved from small batches to large-scale deliveries of “Novatek” products from the Leningrad region.

Now, the representative of the President of Lithuania directly proposes to ban Russian liquefied gas at the Lithuanian liquified natural gas terminal/

The motives of Jarosław Niewierowicz and the Lithuanian right-wing can be understood. If the “Independence” liquified natural gas terminal was exclusively a business project, there would be no issue with the supply of Russian gas to it. However, this project is not economic or even political, but propaganda.

The liquified natural gas terminal came under the government’s high-flown Russophobic rhetoric about “gaining energy independence” from Russia. Its discovery was presented to Lithuanians as a new milestone in the history of the Baltic Republic, almost the fourth day of independence, the final disposal of the “Russian occupiers”. The “success story” of “Independence” was sold to the world as a model: this is how to escape the Kremlin’s “gas shackles”.

Therefore, within the framework of the Lithuanian coordinate system, buying Russian liquefied gas for its terminal five years later is almost a national humiliation. It is necessary to blush from shame, hide the eyes, and tolerate the mocking of all “pro-Kremlin websites” that point and tease.

The adviser to the head of state is ready to put Lithuanian industry under the knife and impose excessive payments on the Lithuanians, so long as this torment is over.

It is clear why the anti-Russian liquified natural gas terminal has switched to Russian liquified natural gas supplies in its genesis. At the time of the first liquefied gas deliveries from Vysotsk, liquified natural gas terminal customers were on the verge of bankruptcy. The Lithuanian government legally forced them to buy “Independence” products instead of gas from the Russian pipe, causing unhappy industrialists to openly resent and rebel, claiming the damned liquified natural gas terminal would push them over the edge and they had no money to buy gas from Norway with Qatar at furious prices.

The biggest forced client of “Independence”, the “Achema” nitrogen fertiliser plant, sent half its workers on unpaid leave, shut down manufacturing shops and a cogeneration power plant, and warned the government of the impending bankruptcy over the “success story” of Lithuania’s energy policy. Vilnius faced a choice: either the ruin of one of Lithuania’s largest employers and taxpayers, or the purchase of relatively cheap Russian liquified natural gas. The second option was chosen, but now it is clear that in the Lithuanian leadership is seriously thinking about the first.

However, the consequences of an anti-Russian demarche with a direct ban on the purchase of Russian liquified natural gas for unobstructed political reasons for Lithuania’s economy may be far more unpleasant than what is currently being calculated.

Lithuania may be left without any Russian gas at all, because Gazprom will shut down the pipe in solidarity with their Russian colleagues, who first received an offer of business cooperation and then faced insane stupid Russophobia.

Those who say that there can be no such thing will be upset: it already happened. Quite a long time ago, everyone forgot, but we will offer a reminder.

In 1997 Lithuania put up for sale the largest enterprise of the country – the Mažeikiai refinery. The main buyer of the plant until recently was the Russian “Lukoil”, which, firstly, supplied oil from Siberia to the refinery and, secondly, gave the highest price. But then the Lithuanian conservatives, led personally by Landsbergis, threw an unparalleled Russophobic tantrum. It is a betrayal of Lithuania! This is a new occupation! No Russian mob on Lithuanian soil!

After a year of scandals, accusations, and insults against Russians, the refinery was sold for a ridiculously low price to some “muddy” American firm associated, of course, with the Lithuanian conservatives. This openly corrupt deal caused a political crisis in Lithuania, the resignation of the government, legal proceedings, and large-scale rallies against the sale of the plant.

The most important thing is that not only “Lukoil”, but all Russian oil companies announced a boycott of Lithuania and refused to supply the Mažeikiai refinery with their oil, consciously and in cold blood bringing the plant to bankruptcy and Lithuania to crisis.

And this happened in those very “holy 90’s”, i.e., before Putin and “imperial revanchism,” at the time of the rise of private oligarchic capital in the Russian Federation. If back then Russian big business showed solidarity with colleagues who came across Lithuanian inadequacy, what to say about now?

Over the past 20 years, nothing has changed in Lithuania’s behavior towards Russia and Russians. The infrastructure situation in Russia has changed – the re-gasification plant Marshall Vasilevsky and new power plants in the Kaliningrad region, which make it absolutely insensitive to energy supplies from Lithuania, have been built.

Therefore, Gazprom can afford the luxury of shutting down the gas pipeline to Lithuania in solidarity with “Novatek”, the purchase of liquified natural gas from which the Lithuanian authorities simply banned out of blunt Russophobia.

Eventually, all Russian work in recent decades for the construction of new infrastructure – bypass gas pipelines, seaports, power plants, and others – comes down to a desire not to deal with partners who behave disgustingly in relation Russians.

Aleksandr Nosovych

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