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Lithuania says may buy import terminal from Hoegh LNG

Hoegh LNG

Lithuania will decide by autumn whether to buy a liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification ship from Norway’s Hoegh LNG by 2025, in a bid to lower the cost of its LNG import terminal, the government said on Tuesday.

Lithuania hopes to save about 70 million euros ($76.79 million) over 30 years by borrowing at currently low rates to buy out the vessel at the end of its 10-year lease, the prime minister’s office said.

Klaipedos Nafta, which operates the terminal, will prepare to take out a long-term loan of 300 million euros by autumn, it added.

“We are looking for ways to lower the costs of infrastructure,” Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said in a statement.

Hoegh has declined to sell the ship earlier than 2025, the prime minister’s spokeswoman told Reuters, but the country still aims to make a decision now.

Lithuania completed installation of the LNG terminal in October 2014 in a bid to reduce its energy dependence on Russia’s Gazprom, the only other gas supplier to the Baltic states.

The terminal now operates at about one eighth of its 4 billion cubic meters per year technical regasification capacity, after Gazprom proceeded to cut the price of its gas for Lithuania.

The country has levied a surcharge on all gas sold in its market to pay the costs of the LNG terminal, initially estimated at 920 million euros during 55 years of operation.

A spokeswoman for Hoegh LNG confirmed Lithuania had a right to buy the vessel when the ten-year contract expires. ($1 = 0.9116 euros)

The Original Reporting by Andrius Sytas, editing by Terje Solsvik and Stine Jacobsen