Unlike the United States, Russia has no plans to interfere into the sovereign affairs of Croatia regarding energy issues, Russia’s ambassador to Croatia, Anvar Azimov, said in an article written in response to remarks of his US counterpart, TASS reported.
Earlier, US Ambassador to Croatia Robert Kohorst claimed that Russia was an unreliable supplier of gas. He also urged Croatia to abstain from purchasing Russian gas to be delivered via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline now under construction and opt for building an LNG terminal on the northern Adriatic island of Krk.
"Why does the United States spread the myth about Russia being an unreliable gas supplier? It’s evident to us that Washington is resorting to all kinds of ways to squeeze Russian gas out of the European market and to make Europeans build terminals to process more expensive liquefied natural gas from the United States. It is also clear to us that the construction of the LNG terminal on the island of Krk is a part of this tactics. The fact that the Americans are not planning to invest a single cent into it speaks for itself," the Russian ambassador said.
"We are not planning to interfere into your sovereign affairs, we are not Americans. At the same time, you should understand that fuel prices will be affected if Russian gas is replaced with more expensive US-made LNG, and, as a result, prices for your goods and services will also rise," he went on.
The Russian diplomat added that at present, LNG terminals in Europe are operating at one fourth of their capacity, which is the minimal threshold for their operations. At the same time, the European Commission admits that there is no other way to increase the demand for LNG in the region other than through administrative measures.
"Russia and the United States are leading energy powers, which guarantee international security. Only through a joint effort we can satisfy the growing demand for energy worldwide. Russia is sure that its gas supplies to Europe are competitive, we are not afraid of competition with the United States and take no measures to prevent those supplies to Europe," Azimov said.
"We have always said that amid the ongoing gas market globalization, the consumer will benefit from having a wider range of suppliers. However, it is inadmissible to create artificial obstacles for those who can supply resources at a cheaper price or to use one’s dominant political position on the international arena to gain unfair competitive advantages. At the very least, this is a demonstration of disrespect to the population of countries whom the United States calls its allies," the Russian diplomat said.
Krk LNG terminal
In September last year, LNG Croatia has invited bids to build an LNG-import terminal on Krk Island, based on a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), reviving Croatia’s long-stalled plans to diversify its energy supply and reduce its dependence on piped gas from Russia. The deadline was extended many times to receive "additional requests from interested terminal users."
The new LNG terminal in Krk in Croatia is expected to be operational by 2020. The investment is estimated at EUR 250 million, with the European Union to finance up to 30%.
Krk LNG terminal’s initial annual capacity is planned at 2.6 billion cubic metres (bcm). But local local media reported earlier this year that initial demand for the terminal had been rather low.