Prime Minister welcomes the role of Inchualns underground gas storage in strengthening Latvia's energy security
On 14 July, during a work visit, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš visited the Inčukalns underground gas storage. In meeting with the management of the joint natural gas transmission and storage system operator “Conexus Baltic Grid” (“Conexus”), he welcomed the results of the storage operation and the implementation of the European interest projects that are underway in it, contribute significantly to the security of energy supply of Latvia and the whole region and strengthen the country's energy independence.
This was the first visit by the Prime Minister to the storage. During the visit, Kariņš was presented with the specific nature of the storage operation and its ongoing infrastructure improvement projects of European interest, with total investment expected to reach €93.5 million by 2025, strengthening the infrastructure of strategic importance of the country and promoting the role of storage in the international market, with a positive impact on a number of sectors, including the employment of local labour.
The meeting also discussed the results of the current single Baltic gas market and the further development steps, where three countries - Latvia, Estonia and Finland - have joined since 1 January 2020, thereby promoting market competition and highlighting the path towards a single European Union single gas market.
The visit also discussed the Conexus strategy and the steps to date in the use of sustainable gases, with a view to establishing a solution for climate neutrals under the European Green Course, using existing infrastructure.
“Inčukalns underground gas storage plays a strategically important role in promoting energy security for Latvia and the region, and it is important that safe natural gas reserves can be stored in storage for the successful operation of the supply system under different conditions. Storage is also important in the Baltic States' electricity system synchronisation project, which is implemented by 2025 with a view to becoming part of the European system for the Baltic electricity transmission system, thereby strengthening energy independence and integration in the European Union market, and therefore it is essential to continue the current development course and strengthen the storage role in the long term”, says Conexus chairman of the board Uldis Bariss.
The importance of storage is also demonstrated by the high interest of traders, who continue to grow annually. For example, when opening a reservation for the 2020./2021. annual cycle, the amount of bookings made exceeded the total storage capacity approximately 7 times the available storage capacity.