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Karins: Latvian state should take over Conexus Baltic Grid

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvian state should buy the controlling package of shares in gas transmission and storage operator Conexus Baltic Grid, says Latvian MEP Krisjanis Karins.

He emphasizes that Latvia’s gas market was dominated for a long time by Latvijas gaze and Gazprom. This is why it should be viewed as an opportunity for Latvia to recover control over critical infrastructure – Incukalns gas storage facility and gas pipeline.

When asked if it is not enough for Conexus Baltic Grid’s largest shareholders to sell their shares in the company before the end of the year and the state has pre-purchase and veto rights, and that regulations already govern the function of Conexus Baltic Grid on the free market, Karins said no, emphasizing the importance of having a capable company contribute to the function of the free market and the creation of a unified Baltic market.

He added that – in spite of the fact that current Conexus Baltic Grid shareholders have to sell shares, «money can grow legs in other ways».

Karins also notes that the state should view this situation as a long-term investment. If the state takes over Conexus Baltic Grid, it would help the country move towards the creation of a single Baltic gas transmission system operator.

On Tuesday, 11 April, the Cabinet of Ministers supported continuation of talks with Conexus Baltic Grid shareholders about a possible procurement of shares in the company.

The state will evaluate its possible involvement in Conexus Baltic Grid to ensure energy security and form a regional gas market among Baltic States and Finland by 2020, BNN was told by Economy Ministry.

It will be possible to achieve the government’s goal by securing infrastructure development (Estonian-Finnish Balticconnectorun and Lithuanian-Polish GIPL connecting infrastructure), achieving high market efficiency and equality in competition, as well as securing price equalization with Central Europe.

«The country has to options how to procure shares. First – the state can use its pre-purchase rights for Conexus Baltic Grid shares provided by requirements of the Energy Law. Second – the state can continue talks with existing shareholders, which will help assess the country’s options of becoming involved in the deal more clearly,» Economy Ministry explains.

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