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Putin Declares Exclave’s Energy ‘Independence’ as He Turns on LNG Tap

Sergei Karpov / ITAR-TASS

President Vladimir Putin has declared Kaliningrad energy “independent” from neighboring countries as he launched a terminal feeding liquefied natural gas (LNG) directly into the Western exclave.

Russia’s gas giant Gazprom had pledged in 2013 to complete construction of the LNG terminal into Kaliningrad, which sits between European Union members Poland and Lithuania, by late 2018. The terminal links to an existing gas pipeline near a local underground storage facility, allowing gas deliveries to local consumers as well as into storage reservoirs.

During the floating terminal’s launch on Tuesday, Putin said its annual capacity of 2.7 billion metric tons of LNG “reduces to zero” Kaliningrad’s dependence on transit gas supplies via Belarus and Lithuania.

“The constructed terminal and its infrastructure completely covers all of Kaliningrad region’s gas needs without the use of pipelines via neighboring countries,” Putin said.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller announced the end of gas deliveries via the Minsk-Vilnius-Kaunas-Kaliningrad pipeline, the state-run TASS news agency reported.

“Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin], the task you had set to ensure the completely autonomous gas supply to Kaliningrad region by sea is complete,” Miller was quoted as saying by Interfax.

The news agency estimates the cost of the project at 60 billion rubles ($895 million), which includes the South Korean-built floating terminal, the “Marshal Vasilevsky,” worth $295 million.  

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