Latvia's gas market now liberalised
Today the Latvian gas market has been opened to competition: instead of one single supplier, consumers in Latvia will be able to choose between several possible suppliers. This is part of a wider effort to develop diversified and secure gas markets in the Baltic countries integrated with the gas infrastructure and markets of other EU countries, and with reduced dependence on energy sources from Russia.
Latvia's electricity market was liberalised in 2015 and there are currently 15 electricity suppliers. From now on multiple suppliers will also be able to enter the Latvian gas market and compete with each other for consumers, although regulated tariffs will remain available for vulnerable consumers to ensure that they can still access affordable energy. The vertically integrated gas company JSC Latvijas Gaze is set to be fully unbundled by end of 2017(unbundling is the separation of energy supply and generation from the operation of transmission networks).Moreover, while until recently Latvia was exclusively dependent on Russia for its gas imports, other sources of supply are starting to become available. The Klaipeda LNG terminal in Lithuania, which opened in 2015, now provides an alternative source of gas for Latvian consumers.
Ensuring energy security and diversifying Europe's sources of energy is one of the five dimensions of the Energy Union, the EU's plan to help provide secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy. The Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – have been identified as being in particular need of better energy interconnections with each other and with the rest of the EU, and of greater independence from Russia. The Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) aims to further integrate the Baltic energy market by building a number of key items of infrastructure. A number of such infrastructure projects are on the list of EU Projects of Common Interest. These are projects that are considered to have a significant impact on the energy markets and market integration of at least two EU countries, boost competition on energy markets and EU energy security by diversifying sources, and contribute to the EU's climate and energy goals.