The State Department congratulated Lithuania on Wednesday (23 August) for receiving the first shipment of liquified natural gas from the US. The move follows Donald Trump’s visit to Warsaw last month, where he promoted American LNG exports.
Lithuania received its first shipment of LNG from the United States on Monday (21 August), the result of a deal aimed at reducing dependence on Russia and consolidating relations with Washington amid increased tension in the region.
— Linas Kojala (@LinasKojala) August 21, 2017
The LNG tanker moored in the port of Klaipeda. The US government was not involved in the deal between Cheniere and the Lithuanian trader, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Lithuania, Howard Solomon, told Reuters. The shipment is for clients in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
— Agnia Grigas (@AgniaGrigas) August 21, 2017
“We are happy to reach a point where importing gas from US is not only politically desirable but also commercially viable,” Energy Minister Zygimantas Vaiciunas said.
Gas prices in Lithuania dipped in 2014 as it opened the LNG terminal, ending the gas supply monopoly of Russia’s Gazprom.
“The United States wants to congratulate the government of Lithuania on receiving its first shipment of US liquefied natural gas this week,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a video appearance yesterday.
— Department of State (@StateDept) August 23, 2017
Nauert added that the US government had placed a priority on European energy security and that this delivery was the latest demonstration of Washington’s support of EU’s goal of diversifying energy supplies.
“We welcome Lithuania’s continued commitment to advance Baltic and European energy security through diversification”, Nauert said further, adding that this shipment was one of more than a dozen already sent to Europe this year from Cheniere’s LNG terminal in Sabine Pass, Louisiana.
Lithuania follows Poland in receiving its first LNG delivery from the US, reducing Russian energy dependence & increasing Baltic security. https://t.co/NEBr6shSf0
— AndersFogh Rasmussen (@AndersFoghR) August 22, 2017
In tune with Donald Trump’s favourite messages, she said that in addition to supporting European energy security, the shipments support American jobs.
“Secretary Tillerson has emphasised we will continue to work to expand energy choices in Europe, so the countries are not dependent on a single or dominant source for their energy,” Nauert concluded.
During his visit to Warsaw on 6 July, Trump promoted US LNG to leaders of member states from Central and Eastern Europe, gathered in the Polish capital.
The Polish state-owned trader PGNiG recently received its first US LNG shipment, and Croatia started preliminary underwater works to build an LNG terminal in the northern Adriatic.
In an interview with Sputnik Radio on 17 August, Russia’s Ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, conveyed the message that his country doesn’t fear competition from the Americans.
Asked by a Sputnik why Europeans would buy gas from the US, which they said is more expensive, Chizhov answered:
“Even if the Americans would ship LNG for free in Europe, they could not replace the Russian supplies.” He added that the US has only one LNG export terminal, in Louisiana.
“They are planning to build more terminals in other parts of the country, but this will take time. Secondly, the [US] gas could not be enough. Thirdly, Europe doesn’t have many LNG terminals, and there are not many tankers to do the transportation,” Chizhov said in the interview, republished on the website of the Russian mission to the EU.
Ambassador Chizhov added that on today’s market, 1000 cubic metres of American LNG costs approximatively $250, which in his view is not attractive to European clients, who pay less for Russian gas, but also for the US, who could sell the same LNG in Latin America for over $300.