Political scientist Tomas Janeliūnas says Lithuania should keep a close eye on Gazprom’s possible future attempts to blackmail Lithuanian firms and push contracts that may bring damages.
“Naturally, if Gazprom can offer a lower price, which is acceptable for clients, it is usual business. Bearing in mind the type of the company and its control, I would think that state-run companies in particular should listen carefully to the State Security Department’s recommendations about the possible additional threats,” Janeliūnas, professor at the Vilnius University’s International Relations and Political Science Institute, told BNS on Tuesday.
In his words, Lithuanian companies should bear in mind that cooperation with Gazprom is not purely commercial and involves risks.
“Given the precedents we should closely follow whether Gazprom will not start blackmailing the clients in the future by offering unfavorable conditions and attempting to tie them down by way of vague contracts, etc. This is the type of precedents that used to be the main threat to Lithuanian companies and Lithuania as an energy consumer,” said the political scientist.
In his words, Gazprom may in the long run start creating an unfavorable situation in an effort to keep it as an energy importer, as Lithuania develops alternative energy.
Last March, the State Security Department said that regardless from withdrawing from the management of Lithuanian gas companies, Gazprom aimed to discredit the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal as an alternative to Russian gas, aimed to make pressure upon some large Lithuanian gas consumers and collected information about objects it found interesting.
President Dalia Grybauskaitė said in 2014 that the Kremlin’s military aggression in Europe was financed with the money of the Russian oil concern Lukoil, which has already left Lithuania, adding that supporting the company’s interests meant acting against the national security of Lithuania.
Nearly pushed out of the Lithuanian natural gas market a year ago, Gazprom will this year secure the bigger share of the market. According to calculations made by BNS, its share will soar from about a third last year to about 55 percent this year, however, will not reach the 2015 level when it stood at over 80 percent.