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Monday 16.07.2018 | Name days: Hermīne, Estere

Oil deposit exploration in Latvia's waters; project managed by people close to Lembergs

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The company responsible for oil deposits surveying in the Baltic Sea in Latvia’s economic zone near Liepaja – Balin Energy with its Ocean Nomad drilling platform has reached 525 m depth below sea level.

The planned depth of the oil well is 1 500 m below sea level. It is expected that works will continue until the second half of June, Balin Energy reports.

The drilling is being carried out where the sea depth is 132 m.

Following an in depth evaluation of results – Q3 of 2013 – Balin Energy plans to announce the results of the survey. The average success rate in locating oil deposits is approximately 25%, and a detailed evaluation of the site chosen by Balin Energy will yield results whether the site is commercially viable.

The Representatives of Balin Energy have previously noted that “the company could invest up to $1.6 billion in a survey and production in the next five years. The recently initiated drilling stage of the project offers hope that the initiative will allow us to come close to our goals”.

The works in the sea are being monitored by Latvian institutions: Latvian Economy Ministry, Foreign Ministry and the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry.

It should be added that the representative of Balin Energy is non other than Aivars Lembergs’ son-in-law Janis Austrins. Even though Lembergs has publicly stated that his son, daughter and son-in-law are not considered his family members, fact show the opposite. The politician provided help for his relatives’ businesses many times in the past. Example, during last year’s Ventspils Board meeting on November 14, a decision was made to authorize the 717 588 LVL worth contract with Baltimar VT for the supply of diesel fuel to the ships of the free port. Lembergs also participated in the vote on this matter, even though two of his family members are among the managing Board of the firm – son Anrijs Lembergs and son-in-law Janis Austrins. Information available on the website of the Procurement Monitoring Bureau states that Baltimar had received rights to supply diesel fuel to a municipal company – Ventspils Labiekārtošanas kombināts. It should be added that Lembergs’ response to this matter was rather short – he “didn’t know anything”.

Also, Chairman of PBK – another company associated with the project – is Martins Bondars, Ojars Kehris is a Board member there.

The fact that Bondars is on Lembergs’ side could be shown by his wish to take over Reform Party (RP) from its leader – ex-president Valdis Zatlers. He announced this request when the party was considering him to be its candidate for the post of Mayor of Riga. Bondars had requested to exclusive rights to “made radical steps aimed at ministers, the faction and Board” without having to consult with the party’s board or Saeima faction. Bondars was also highly critical of the actions of the party’s Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Edmunds Sprudzs. Specifically Sprudzs, who turned against now the dismissed Mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs.

Kehris, on the other hand, is one of the people who are suspected of being involved in illegal transactions in regard to Ventspils nafta‘s privatization. The largest shadow of suspicion of bribery in regard to VN’s privatization falls on none other than Lembergs himself. Suspicion of accepting bribes falls on to then the government forming party TB/LNNK, Latvijas ceļš and the Democratic Party‘s leading politicians or other related persons, including Kehris.


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