Lithuania puts plans to import LNG from the United States on hold for now

VILNIUS, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Lithuania has put plans to buy liquefied natural gas from the United States on hold because the LNG is not yet suitable for the Baltic state’s gas system, its state energy company said on Wednesday.

Lithuania’s system was built to use Russian gas and state energy group Lietuvos Energija said U.S. LNG was much more calorific than Russian gas.

The country opened an LNG import terminal in the Baltic Sea at the end of 2014, which allowed it to start importing from Norway and end its total dependence on gas imports from its former Soviet master, Russia.

“We are not buying gas from the U.S. at the moment, because the gas they are offering at the moment does not meet specifications needed for our gas distribution system,” Ernesta Dapkiene, a spokeswoman for Lietuvos Energija, told Reuters.

Litgas, the LNG import arm of Lietuvos Energija, has been negotiating LNG deliveries from Cheniere Energy’s landmark Sabine Pass export plant in Louisiana.

“They are still testing their liquefaction equipment, and at the moment they cannot ensure the chemical composition of gas which is needed for Lithuania,” Dapkiene said.

“We believe that once the testing phase is over they will be able to meet our specifications,” she added.

The test phase could take four to six months before the first shipments under a long-term contract between Cheniere and LNG shipper BG Group begin, Reuters sources said last year.

Cheniere has said it expected the first LNG cargo to leave Sabine Pass in January. (Reporting by Andrius Sytas, writing by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Susan Fenton)