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Monday 21.08.2017 | Name days: Linda, Janīna
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Latvijas Gāze attempts to lobby Gazporm's interest in the parliament

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One week ago, a number of Saeima officials proposed making a decision that would leave Latvijas Gāze and its shareholder Gazprom the only supplier of natural gas to Latvia. This would allow the Russian giant to retain its position as a monopolist for several years and would contradict previous pre-election promises and requirements of the European Commission.

It is possible that shareholders of Latvijas Gāze could have just used an opportunity to lobby their interests. Last week, however, Chief of the Constitution Protection Bureau Janis Kazocins revealed that Gazprom had been preparing long and hard to convince Latvia that the requirement of the EC to open the market does not necessarily mean attracting new suppliers, Nekā personīga (Nothing personal) programme of TV3 reports.

The head of Latvijas Gāze Adrians Davis has presented Saeima officials with different drafts, tables and a confidential letter from Gazprom‘s management in Moscow. The letter and the numbers should convince officials that the current gas price is beneficial for Latvia. If the market is opened, Gazprom‘s prices and that of other suppliers will go up.

Unity, National Union, GFU and Harmony Centre all voted in favour of the proposal from Latvijas Gāze. Only the Reform Party abstained from the vote.

Representative of the National Union Roberts Zile reports that Latvian politicians, including his party comrades, Belarus and Ukraine allow themselves to be manipulated by Russia. Coalition parties called an emergency meeting and shamed their comrades. The parties then decided not to submit the proposals further through the Saeima.

It should be said that a few days before officials voted for the putting off of the market liberalization initiative, the Economy Ministry had sent the long awaited Latvia’s gas market reorganization strategy to a number of state institutions and ministries. It is likely that this strategy had been “leaked” to Latvijas Gāze from one of the ministries. This is most likely the explanation for the rushed initiative of the gas supplier.

Lithuania, which even sued Gazprom recently, has gained from the opening of the market. Latvia’s neighbours are currently building a terminal for liquefied gas. On top of that, Lithuania has received a new price offer from Moscow, which is much more beneficial than the one offered before.

The Economy Ministry will be presenting the strategy for the reorganization of the gas market on a closed government meeting this week. The ministry does not state its steps openly in order to keep Latvijas Gāze and Gazprom in the dark about the government’s strategy. One thing is certain – this attempt to delay the opening of the market has not affected the ministry’s plans. Liberalization will begin in 2014.

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