Ministry: Latvia would have enough gas for winter even if Baltics disconnected from Russian power network

Latvia will have enough gas to cover residents’ consumption and demand for continued operation of the secure system even if Baltic States disconnect from the Russian power network this winter, said Ministry of Economics vice-state secretary for topics of energy Edijs Šaicāns during a joint meeting between the ministry and Saeima’s Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee.
During this meeting board member of transmission system operator Augstsprieguma tīkls JSC Gatis Junghāns mentioned – if Baltic States disconnect from the Russian network, such a step would require increasing electricity generation volumes from thermal power plants. This, in turn, would require additional volumes of gas – approximately 7 – 10 TWh in the Baltic region alone. Latvia would have to secure approximately half of this volume.
At the same time, Šaicāns explained this 3.5 to 5 TWh is not an additional volume but the volume necessary to fuel everyday operations of thermal power plants and ensure their synchronisation.
According to estimates from the Ministry of Economics, this winter Latvia will require 6.9 TWh of natural gas, especially considering the planned austerity measures, Šaicāns added. He said Latvia’s consumption requires very high use of thermal power plants. Synchronisation may require an additional 1 TWh of gas. This means the total volume of gas increases to 7.9 TWh.
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At the same time, the ministry’s representative reported that the volume of gas stored in Inčukalns underground gas storage facility is approximately 12 TWh. 5.7 TWh of this volume are owned by traders in Latvia. 6.7 TWh is for trade in Latvia. Contracts have been signed for supplies of 1.5 TWh. There are plans to secure another 2 TWh of gas in Q1 2023.
Šaicāns said the entire planned natural gas volume would be enough for synchronisation needs and then some. He added that the ministry’s estimates were made based on a scenario under which gas traders fulfil their obligations.
5.7 TWh of gas owned by Latvian traders and stored in Inčukalns storage facility belongs to Latvenergo JSC. The exact volume is confidential information, said Šaicāns, adding that the ministry is aware of the volume of gas Latvenergo plans to supply to its clients.
Gas transmission operator Conexus Baltic Grid JSC (Conexus) chairman Uldis Bariss mentioned rules passed by the Cabinet of Ministers state that it is necessary to control and make sure the gas owned by Latvijas gāze does not flow from Latvia, and Conexus is able to do it. The natural gas volume owned by Latvijas gāze is basically «frozen» at the moment. Gas is provided only for use by users in Latvia, explained Bariss.