Lithuania’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Klaipeda, the first facility in the Baltic States to break Gazprom’s monopoly of supply, won the Project of the Year award at the European Gas Conference in Vienna that ended on 29th January.

The terminal, named Independence, has already proven its potential in supplying gas to the region from sources other than Gazprom. The terminal’s operator, JSC Litgas, has recently signed two deals for gas supply to Estonian companies Reola Gaas and Eesti Energia. It plans to supply up to 30m cubic metres of gas this year to Estonia.

The terminal, which started commercial operations in January, has an annual capacity of four billion cm - which it will be able to achieve after expansion of the grid. The Baltic States consume around five billion cm per year. The terminal currently has a contract to import 0.54bn cm from Norway’s Statoil.

A fully-fledged Baltic States’ regional gas market is, however, still some time away. Latvia’s transmission and distribution infrastructure – which lies between Lithuania and Estonia – remains under control of monopolist Latvijas Gaze, which is controlled by Gazprom. 

Latvijas Gaze’s monopoly in Latvia ends in 2017, with a review on how to carry out unbundling of the company transmission and distribution business coming “soon,” according to the Latvian government.