Norway's Equinor Books Capacity at Lithuanian LNG Terminal

VILNIUS (Reuters) — Norwegian oil and gas company Equinor booked capacity for the first time to import LNG to Baltic States via Lithuania's Klaipeda LNG terminal.

Three traders including Equinor booked import capacity totaling 8.9 terawatt hours (TWh) of LNG in initial bidding for the 12 months beginning Oct. 1, operator Klaipedos Nafta said.

Equinor has already been shipping its gas to other traders operating at the terminal, such as under 2014's 10-year contract with Lithuania's Ignitis.

A fire in September 2020 shut down production at Equinor's Hammerfest LNG plant in Norway and it estimates the repairs will finish by March 31 next year.

The Klaipeda LNG terminal imported 20.44 TWh of gas in 2019 and 21.76 TWh in 2020, or about half of its annual import capacity of 39 TWh, its operator said.

The terminal can feed the gas grids of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland, and the region is also supplied by pipeline from Russia.

A link between Lithuania and Poland is due to open at the end of 2021, designed to transport up to 21 TWh of gas per year to Poland or 27 TWh to Lithuania.

Poland consumes about 200 TWh and the other four countries 60 TWh per annually, according to Ignitis estimates.

Russia's Gazprom lost a third of its share of the Finnish gas market last year, after a new pipeline made it possible to import LNG from Baltic States via Klaipeda.

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