VILNIUS, Lithuania (AFP)--Lithuania said Monday it had picked Norwegian company Hoegh LNG Holdings Ltd. (HLNG.OS) to build a liquefied natural gas terminal aimed at reducing the Baltic state's dependence on Russian supplies.
The 10-year lease contract is expected to be signed in February and the terminal will start operations by the end of 2014, state owned company Klaipedos nafta AB (KNF1L.LV) said in a statement.
"We have taken a very important step in implementing the LNG project," Rokas Masiulis, director general of Klaipedos nafta, said.
The other bidders were Norway's Golar LNG Ltd. (GOL.OS) and U.S. firm Excelerate Energy, the statement said.
Officials have said the terminal may cost EUR200 million.
Currently, Russian energy giant OAO Gazprom (GAZP.RS) is Lithuania's only natural gas supplier, through a pipeline across Belarus.
The Baltic nation of 3 million people, which declared independence in 1990 after five decades of Kremlin rule, has repeatedly locked horns with Gazprom, accusing it of abusing its market clout to impose unfair pricing. Gazprom has denied the claims.
The gas dispute has fed into other wrangling between Moscow and Vilnius, whose ties have been particularly rocky since Lithuania joined the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 2004.
Lithuania has set 2014 as the deadline for an E.U.-piloted reform of its natural gas market.
The competition rules--which bar suppliers from also running the gas-mains system--poses a challenge to Gazprom, which owns 37.1% of Lithuania's gas-mains company Lietuvos dujos AB (LDJ1L.LV).
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 23, 2012 06:57 ET (11:57 GMT)- - 06 57 AM EST 01-23-12
HAMILTON, BERMUDA, Jan 23, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Golar LNG ("Golar" or "the Company") is pleased to announce that it has become 100% owner of the LNG Carrier Gandria. Golar has purchased the remaining 50% share interest in Bluewater Gandria N.V, the owning company of the vessel, from an affiliate of Bluewater Energy Services B.V. ("Bluewater"). The price has been agreed all-in at $19.5 million. Prior to the transaction, the company was owned by Golar (50%) and Bluewater (50%). The vessel which is a Moss type carrier and built in 1977 has been laid up since September 2008. The vessel is well maintained, and is a good trading vessel as well as a strong candidate for conversion to FSRU and storage. A firm decision will be made on the vessel reactivation within the next few weeks.
Golar has in addition made a firm to commitment to reactivate the LNG Carrier Hilli which is also a Moss type carrier built in 1975. The vessel has been brought to Keppel Shipyard for a $15 million upgrading project. The Company is targeting her readiness for service prior to the end of March 2012. Golar has already received proposals for chartering of the vessel.
Golar's CEO Doug Arnell said in a comment "Golar's focus remains to be a high quality operator of modern LNG vessels. However the purchase of 50% of Gandria was done as an opportunistic deal at a price level we find very attractive. The reintroduction of Gimi, Hilli, and Gandria in the market will secure additional earnings growth for our company in the next quarters while we are waiting for our first newbuildings to come out in 2013. Long term, these three Moss designed vessels are ideal candidates for storage, FSRUs and other LNG infrastructure projects.