International Latvia-Lithuania Interconnection Enhancement Project has been completed enhancing the security of natural gas supply

Enhancement of Latvia-Lithuania interconnection (ELLI), a joint partnership between Conexus Baltic Grid (Conexus), the unified natural gas transmission and storage system operator, and Amber Grid, the Lithuanian natural gas transmission system operator, has been completed after four years of extensive work. The project increases the interconnection capacity in both directions, strengthening the security of natural gas supply in the region. 

On the 24th of November 2017, the ELLI project was included in the BEMIP (Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan) gas priority corridor in the list of projects of common interest adopted by the European Commission as an important element for the expansion of the EU internal energy market. The project was implemented from 2019 till the end of 2023 and co-financed by the European Union. 

"This international partnership project is a successful example of effective transnational cooperation in the joint implementation of a major project of common European interest. It is important not only for Latvia and Lithuania, but also for the Baltic States as a whole, ensuring energy security and independence in the region. The ELLI project has eliminated congestion at the interconnection point between Latvia and Lithuania and increased the operating pressure of Latvian pipelines to 50 bar, corresponding to cross-border flows between EU Member States. Moreover, the geopolitical situation in the world significantly increased the importance of the project during its implementation," explains Uldis Bariss, Chairman of Conexus’ Management Board. 

Bariss adds that the implementation of the ELLI project has increased diversification and security of supply, improved competition in the gas market enabling Lithuania and Poland to use the Inčukalns underground gas storage more efficiently, as well as allowed Latvia, Estonia and Finland to use gas import routes via the LNG terminal in Klaipėda and GIPL.

17 sub-projects implemented in Latvia

Within the framework of the project, Conexus implemented 17 sub-projects in Latvia, including evaluation of the transmission pipeline system for pressure increase up to 50 bar (the pressure before the project was 40 bar), comprehensive diagnostics of the transmission pipelines, transmission infrastructure reconstruction works, reconstruction of several line taps, connection nodes, branches to gas reduction stations, replacement of pipeline sections, reconstruction of several branches to gas reduction stations, as well as reconstruction of a connection node.

Increased capacity in both directions 

Prior to the project, the capacity of the cross-border point was limited to 67.6 GWh/d from Lithuania to Latvia and 65.1 GWh/d from Latvia to Lithuania. From the 13th of November 2023, following the implementation of the project, the capacity in both directions was increased to 90 GWh/d in the Latvia-Lithuania direction with a possible dynamic increase to approximately 100 GWh/d and to 82 GWh/d in the Latvia-Lithuania direction with a possible dynamic increase to approximately 100 GWh/d. 

For a limited period of time under and specific operating conditions of thetransmission system, system operators can provide technical capacity of up to 130 GWh/d from Lithuania to Latvia and up to 119 GWh/d from Latvia to Lithuania. These specific conditions include, e.g, when natural gas in Lithuania is received from both the LNG terminal and the Lithuania-Poland interconnector at almost full capacity or both compressor stations in Lithuania (the Panevėžys compressor station and the Jauniūnų compressor station) operate simultaneously close to their maximum capacity. 

The total cost of the project is €10.1 million, of which Conexus will invest €5.8 million (including European co-financing of €2.75 million) and Amber Grid – €4.27 million (including European co-financing of €2.14 million).