Latvijas Gāze chairman: the economy won’t function if gas prices remain high

Instead of worrying about AS Conexus Baltic Grid (Conexus) Inčukalns underground gas storage facility Latvia should worry about the survival of the country’s economy under such high gas prices, said Latvijas Gāze chairman Aigars Kalvītis in an interview to TV3 programme 900 seconds.
«I would refrain from panicking, because, for instance, Latvijas Gāze’s gas supply portfolio for this year’s winter is sufficient and Inčukalns underground gas storage facility is at least 80% full. This means gas supplies may start running out at the end of February or start of March,» says Kalvītis.
However, he did not deny that in the topic of natural gas prices Latvia is already at the worst possible scenario: the question remains open of consumers being able to pay for gas if the price 100 EUR/MWh. «The economy will not be able to survive at such gas prices and residents will not be able to afford gas services, since the debts to households increased at low gas tariffs,» said Kalvītis.
As a representative of the industry, he does not believe now is the best time to free the fee for gas supplies. Kalvītis believes this would be the least effective measures.
He believes European politicians should act more decisively. He suggests following the example of USA and halt exports of gas to Asia.
«So far Europe has yet to do this even though ships continue supplying Asia with gas and receiving good pay for it,» adds Kalvītis.
As previously reported by the deputy state secretary of Ministry of Economics for energy affairs Edijs Šaicāns at a meeting of Saeima’s Sustainable Development Committee there is no shortage of natural gas in Latvia.
He said Conexus Inčukalns underground gas storage facility is already about 80% full (17.3 TWh), which is a normal volume for any season. The reserved volume in the facility reaches 18.9 TWh.
Šaicāns also said that in spite of the fact that the volume of gas in the storage facility is sufficient and if winter turns out particularly chilly, Latvia would not run out of gas, because it is possible to pump gas from Finland or Lithuania.
As previously noted by the manager of Conexus Inčukalns underground gas storage facility Rinalds Dimiņš, this season’s volume of gas was affected by both the activity of users of the system in forming stores and market fluctuations.
This year increased demand for natural gas has caused prices in Europe to go up, which has also had an impact on the volume of gas in Inčukalns gas storage facility.