Posted on Aug 21, 2017
Lithuania has became the first former Soviet state to import US natural gas this week. This comes at a time when Washington has promised to help weaken Europe’s reliance on gas supplies from Russia.
The liquid natural gas (LNG) shipment is highly symbolic, as Lithuania looks to cement ties and backing from Washington following Moscow’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.
US natural gas exports are increasing as a result of the shale revolution in the country, are increasingly encroaching on regions that Russia’s state-backed gas company, Gazprom, has long considered its own backyard.
Lithuania has already been importing LNG from Norway since it opened its first terminal for the supercooled fuel in 2014, but is keen to show Moscow it has a variety of options, including from the world’s largest economic and military power.
“This shipment of US LNG is historic and symbolic as Russia sees Lithuania as it’s backyard and traditionally one of Gazprom’s monopoly markets,” said Agnia Grigas, an Atlantic Council fellow in Washington DC and author of ’The New Geopolitics of Natural Gas.’
“It’s also a signal from the US LNG industry showing that they can go to any region and challenge Gazprom, while Lithuania hopes to deepen commercial ties with the US to ensure Washington’s commitment and support.”
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