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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Latvia Seeks Foreign Aid For Gas Storage Scheme

DUBAI -- The former Soviet republic of Latvia is seeking foreign investment to develop underground storage of natural gas destined for regional markets, an official said.

Janis Leja, head of the international department at the state-owned Latvijas Gaze, said he held unofficial talks with Abu Dhabi Investment Authority directors Monday and was preparing an investment proposal for them on gas projects.

"We'll send a proposal about our legal and economic potential to show our business prospects," he said at the Arab Oil and Gas Show in the United Arab Emirates. "We want to show the world that we exist."

He said currently Latvia was relying on credits from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Russia is to supply Estonia with 900 million cubic meters and Lithuania 2.7 billion cubic meters in 1994. Latvijas Gaze president Adrians Davis said Latvia imports 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas annually from Russia.

Leja said Russia cuts back on gas transmission through the pipeline during the winter from October to April when it relies to an extent on stored gas in Latvia, which is crisscrossed with pipelines to Russia, Estonia and Lithuania.

He said Latvia wanted to serve as a storage conduit between the gas extracting Nordic countries and Russia, and export markets in Western and Eastern Europe.

He said to do this Latvia needed to develop its potential gas repositories -- empty limestone and clay spaces underground suitable for holding gas -- equip them for injecting and extracting gas and then connect them to the pipeline network.

Leja said Latvia's only underground gas storage facility at Incukalns, 35 kilometers northeast of the capital Riga, has a storage capacity of 2.3 billion cubic meters of gas.