Gazprom to Sell its Stake in Lithuanian Utilities Lietuvos Dujos and Amber Grid
The Lithuanian government has reported that Russian gas company Gazprom—the largest natural gas extractor in the world—plans to sell its stake in Lithuanian utilities Lietuvos Dujos and Amber Grid for 417 million litas ($164 million).
Gazprom provides all of Lithuania’s natural gas along a pipeline from Russia and currently owns 37.1 percent of the two utility companies.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said that the move will not impact gas prices, at least not through 2015, which is when the current contract for gas purchases is due to expire. Future prices will “depend on further talks with Gazprom.”
Gazprom was founded in 1989 when the Soviet Ministry of Gas Industry became a corporation, securing a monopoly in the gas sector and retaining all of its assets. The organization became a joint-stock company in 1993, when the government employed a voucher method for the public to purchase shares. The Russian government remains majority shareholder with 50.01 percent of the company.
Lietuvos Dujos was established in 1961 and deals in the imports, distribution, transmission and sales of natural gas. Its market share is 45 percent. Amber Grid, founded in 2013, is the operator of Lithuania’s natural gas transmission system. The company serves power plants, district-heating plants, industrial companies and gas supply companies. Amber Grid is also the Associated Partner of ENTSOG (the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas).
A liquefied natural gas floating storage and regasification unit terminal is currently under construction in Lithuania. A floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) has been built and will reach the new terminal by December. Upon its completion, Lithuania will be the fifth country in the world to use FSRU technology for liquefied natural gas. The FSRU is expected to reduce the dependence on Russian energy in Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.
Gazprom's board recently met in Moscow to decide whether to agree to proposals from Lithuanian state-owned firms EPSO-G and Lietuvos Energija to buy the stakes. The sale is in compliance with European Union gas market rules on fair competition, which specify that energy suppliers cannot dominate ownership of the infrastructure.
Former Lithuanian energy minister Arvydas Sekmokas weighed in on the sale, saying, “This is good news. The sale means that Lithuania and Gazprom will start conducting their business on a commercial basis, and this will eventually improve relations between Lithuania and Russia.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.