Lithuanian ambassador urges US to move faster on energy exports

US policymakers must move more aggressively to export more oil and gas so European nations can continue reducing their dependence on Russian supplies, Lithuania’s ambassador to the US declared. “We need [LNG] from America now,” Zygimantas Pavilionis said. “We can’t wait another 10 years.”

Unlike the US, which only recently has begun to oppose Russia’s moves to use access to its natural gas supplies to heavily influence neighboring countries’ policies, Lithuania and the two other Baltic Sea states, Latvia and Estonia, have been concerned with Russia’s actions for 15 years, the ambassador said.

Lithuania’s LNG terminal—the region’s first—is open and accepting shipments, and a gas pipeline is being constructed from there to Poland, he told attendees at a June 11 breakfast hosted by the advocacy group LNG Allies.

“The whole Baltic region is suffering from Russian dependence, along with other former Soviet Union nations across eastern Europe,” said Pavilionis, who is concluding a 5-year assignment in Washington. “I would rather have a big, strong, reliable supplier. This is the US’s opportunity. This is your time.”

Europe and the US should develop a trans-Atlantic energy strategy, Pavilionis said. “If we don’t release this huge American resource outside your country and create more transparent markets, Putin and Russia will move ahead with their corruption and coercion,” he said.

“Bad things are happening around or borders, and it’s time for us to push back together,” he said. “We’ve achieved a lot since 2006. We can achieve more if we work together.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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