The results of the visit of the president of the Society of Lithuania in Belarus can be summarized as follows: Grybauskaite Lukashenko consulted as to achieve recognition of the West without losing power, Lukashenko promised to rid the entire region of energy dependence on Russia for pavdyasyatku years. Yesterday's meeting in Minsk, probably a continuation of the global game that Minsk and Vilnius are even with last year.
Energy independence is, of course, not only and not so much the diversification of sources of importation of oil, but first of all — natural gas. On the issue of gas supplies Baltic countries, like Russia, is 100% dependent on Russia, which is directly reflected in the cost of energy to the region. Lithuania, for example, pay per thousand cubic meters of fuel for 100-150 dollars more than the countries of Western Europe.
Since its accession to the EU Baltic countries and Poland are persistently demanding from Brussels to help resolve this situation, leaning on the fact that the gas monopoly, the Kremlin is an economic and political threat to the entire block. In 2008, against the background of the gas war between Moscow and transit countries — lobbyists for energy diversification Baltic region had a key victory.
Path to Freedom
Brussels approved plan synchronize Baltic Energy Market (VEMIR-angl.). Within VEMIR was decided to build a new gas pipeline from Norway to Denmark (Skanled) and extend it to Poland (Baltic pipe). After the existing Russian-Belarusian conflict transit European Commission has allocated more than half a billion dollars to study the project of another tube, called the Amber stream. The pipeline should be a continuation of the Baltic Pipe and bring North Sea gas to Lithuania. Moreover, the same gas will be supplied with fuel Polish terminal regazyfikatsyi liquefied gas, which is now built in and Svinaustsi must launched in 2014.
At full load the Baltic Pipe project and the LNG terminal in Svinaustsi, they can be injected into the stream of amber up to 15 billion cubic meters of gas per year, twice the total fuel Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
The stones on the road
But the political decision in Brussels — is only half the battle. On the way to the realization of these projects are economic calculations. By 2012, the assessment team should decide on the commercial viability of the project Amber stream. The results of research experts is not predetermined.
Due to the low fuel consumption in the Baltic States, Brussels doubt that they will be able to provide full utilization of the projected pipe. But even a positive decision on the pipeline will have to Vilnius and unpleasant consequences.
Satisfying the demands of its Baltic members of the security alternative energy supplies, the European Union may consider their responsibilities in this regard executed and is unlikely to have undertake to finance the construction of the Lithuanian terminal for liquefied natural gas. And energy supplies from the North Sea and although there will be less than under the existing contract with Gazprom, but still come out much more expensive than spot prices of liquefied gas.
If Minsk VEMIR join the program, it will open up new limits on both sides. Belarus consumes three times more gas than the three Baltic states combined. If the Belarusian government has promised to change the direction of the load via the Minsk-Vilnius-Kaunas and start buying unused alternative gas for Lithuania — it can ensure a positive decision on the commercial viability of not only the flow of Amber, but in terminals for liquefied natural gas in Lithuania and Estonia.
Russia, in turn, the expansion of transport capacity Minsk-Vilnius, can be obtained from the Baltic to 10 billion cubic meters, not tratsyachysya to build its own terminal LNG. There is no doubt that the Baltic States will make every effort to lead the European Commission to finance the project in the framework of the Eastern Partnership.
Democracy, to her …
The only obstacle to the realization of these plans can become a waiver unless the EU to expand cooperation with illegitimate from the point of view of Brussels, the Belarusian leadership. Finding ways to address these issues, perhaps, was the main mission of the visit of the Lithuanian leader in Minsk.
Promising to do everything possible for the recognition of the Belarusian presidential elections in the West Grybauskaite, it seems, has identified the head of Belarus' what steps he should will do this in turn. Later met with the opposition of Lithuania "iron lady" said that Lukashenko promised to allow independent observers to count the votes. Given that the vast majority of suspected fraud is most likely during the preliminary voting, this option, perhaps, indeed, would not be acceptable to the government.
Brussels admits is "a significant improvement in the electoral process" sufficient to establish the official Minsk? There is no doubt that the Baltic governments will make this all possible.