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Lithuania: petroleum and dreams

The spirit of euphoria soared in Vilnius the next day after the visit of "Georgeas Bushas" (George Bush in Lithuanian) who has accepted at the end of November the invitation from the Baltic countries.

The spirit of euphoria soared in Vilnius the next day after the visit of "Georgeas Bushas" (George Bush in Lithuanian) who has accepted at the end of November the invitation from the Baltic countries. Within several days of summit in Copenhagen - the last stage in negotiations with EU, Lithuania has finally reached its the purpose - the twelve-year independence proclaimed March 11, 1990. But the sovereignty is strongly connected with gas- and oil pipelines in which the inheritance of Soviet Union is traced.

In September of the last year explosion of emotions has reached the peak in Vilnius. It was consequence of American company Williams International declaring a transfer of the part of its shares of Lithuanian petroleum company Mazeikiu Nafta to Russian company Yukos. Mazeikiu Nafta is unique in Lithuania and the only one complex of such structure on the territory of the Baltic countries, including sea terminal Butinge nafta, Birzhajsky oil pipeline and joint-stock company Mazeikiu Nafta itself.

Created at the beginning of 1980 for deliveries of fuel to the European market, it directly connects an oil pipeline, which attaches Lithuania to Russian network. For the Lithuanian authorities the bargain was a full unexpectedness. The Prime Minister of Lithuania, Algirdas Brazauskas, has declared, that the agreement was concluded behind the government?s back: "I can?t positively estimate that fact, that we haven?t been warned. It is unethical". For Lithuania the situation became especially rough, as three years ago Vilnius has made everything to bar the way to Russian petroleum giant LUKOIL. The decision was political and didn?t change anything in petroleum dependence of Lithuania. "Undoubtedly, it is possible to import crude petroleum in tankers through the terminal in Buting or Klaipeda port, - says the director of Ministry for economy from the department of energy resources, Vladas Gagilas, - but the cheapest way are Russian oil pipelines?.

This autumn, the Lithuanian Parliament has voted for the law demanding that 51 % of the strategic enterprises of the country should remain under the state control. Privatization of gas company Lietuvos Dujos has recovered this polemic. The German consortium (Ruhrgas and E.ON Energie) already has already bought 34 % for 33 million euro. The company Gazprom, which is the exclusive supplier of gas to the Lithuanian market has entered the struggle for the second third of shares. "It is Necessary to take into account this nominee ", - the expert of Institute on studying the market environment in Vilnius has declared. Except for it Russia also supports monopoly in gas deliveries. Alternative can become the civil-engineering design of Dutch-Polish-Lithuanian gas main. ?The Amber gas main" will be the first one, through which gas will be delivered from deposits of the Western Europe to the East. Vilnius and Warsaw already consider the variant of such cooperation. "Even if the prices for gas are one and a half times higher, than for Russian ? ", - regrets Vladas Gagilas.

Recently the Russian energy companies direct their efforts on gaining the strategic positions, which were lost with disintegration of the USSR. However, Vilnius, which completely tries to be released from the Soviet heritage, is doing the same. And on the way to enter the European Community it is ready to search for every possible alternative.


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