VILNIUS Nov 29 Lithuania's government said on
Monday it will go ahead with a plan to separate the country's
gas transportation and supply assets in line with EU policy,
despite protests from Moscow.
Russian pipeline gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM) holds
37.1 percent and German company E.ON Ruhrgas (EONGn.DE) has 38.9
percent of Lithuanian utility Lietuvos Dujos LDJ1L.VL, while
the state owns 17.7 percent.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday criticised
European Union laws aimed at liberalising the continent's energy
market, saying they hinder investment and amount to uncivilised
Putin cited Lithuania, where Gazprom and E.ON have warned of
supply disruptions in a row over the EU regulations.
"Lithuania's government has been determined to implement and
is implementing the Third (Energy) Package, and is working on a
legal basis to separate management and ownership of (gas)
pipelines and to create a gas market," the government said in a
statement on its web site.
The statement said cabinet members had agreed on draft laws
on the gas sector on Monday, but officials later told Reuters
the legislation had yet to be approved formally by the
government. The parliament will also have to vote on the bill.
The EU agreed in March 2009 to liberalise energy markets by
splitting giant utilities, ensuring that small gas suppliers can
get unhindered access to European infrastructure and compete on
an equal footing with the dominant players. [ID:nLDE6AO0C3]
Russia remains Lithuania's sole natural gas supply source,
but the Baltic state said recently it wanted to build a
liquefied natural gas terminal to diversify supply.
(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Anthony Barker)