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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lithuania Fears Big Gas Price Hike

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said his country might see a significant increase next year in prices for gas supplied by Gazprom.

"We have unofficial information that gas prices may rise up to $312 to $320 per 1,000 cubic meters starting next year," Kirkilas said Friday.

"This could push up electricity prices by 10 percent to 15 percent, and will boost inflation as well," he added.

Lithuania currently pays $190 per 1,000 cubic meters -- well below the price paid by countries in Western Europe.

A government news release had earlier quoted Kirkilas warning about the potential for higher gas prices.

Inflation in Lithuania is well above the euro-zone average and is keeping it from adopting the currency. In July, the consumer price index was up 5.1 percent from a year earlier.

A spokeswoman for Lietuvos dujos, a gas company partly owned by Gazprom, declined to comment on Kirkilas' remark but said prices were set to rise.

"All I can say is that gas prices are going to increase, but it is too early to say how much," spokeswoman Sigita Petrikonyte-Jurkuniene said.

Gazprom could not be reached for comment.

There is some skepticism over whether the gas price may rise above $300 per 1,000 cubic meters.

Vidmantas Jankauskas, who chairs a state energy price control commission, said it was unlikely the price would exceed that level as it would mean Lithuania was paying more than Germany.

The Lithuanian government said it would form a working group headed by the foreign minister to negotiate gas prices with Russia.