* Litgas says has already agreed on the commercial terms
* Expects to complete negotiations by end-June
* Plans to import more than 0.5 bcm annually for five years
* Russia's Gazprom is sole gas supplier currently
(Adds Statoil, Litgas confirmation, deal details)
OSLO, May 26 Lithuania is close to signing its
first liquefied natural gas (LNG) purchase with Norway's Statoil
, the prime minister and energy companies said, which
would end Russian firm Gazprom's monopoly as its
The deal, if finalised, would help the Baltic state reduce
its total dependence on pipeline gas imports from Russia, its
former master in the Soviet Union, which Lithuania sees as a top
risk to its national security.
"We have agreed on the main commercial terms (with Statoil),
and we are now negotiating the technical details," Dominykas
Tuckus, the head of Litgas, a gas trading arm of state-owned
energy group Lietuvos Energija, told Reuters on Monday. "We plan
to complete negotiations in June."
Statoil confirmed that talks were in an advanced stage, with
contract documents pending finalization and approval.
"We want to finalise the deal as soon as possible, with the
first deliveries starting in January 2015," Morten Eek, a
spokesman for Statoil, said.
Qatar was one of the bidders, but Prime Minister Algirdas
Butkevicius said he authorised Litgas to continue talks with
Litgas earlier said it was negotiating a five-year deal to
import 0.54 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas annually via a new
LNG import terminal at Klaipeda port city starting from 2015.
Statoil said the volume would be 0.55 bcm per year, which
amounts to six to seven LNG cargoes. Eek declined to comment on
Tuckus said the LNG price agreed with Statoil would not be
fixed but would "reflect the trends in the global gas market".
Litgas was also planning to sign master trade agreements
with multiple LNG suppliers to buy LNG cargoes on the spot
market, he added.
Statoil's Snoehvit LNG facility, Europe's only liquefaction
plant, processed about 4 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas in
2013, while Lithuania's total gas consumption amounted to 2.7
bcm last year. Snoehvit mainly delivers LNG to Europe and Asia.
Norway's Hoegh LNG earlier agreed to lease a
floating LNG import terminal to Lithuania.
(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; additional reporting by
Andrius Sytas in Vilnius; Editing by Balazs Koranyi and Jane