The Latvian parliament (the Saeima) voted on Thursday to amend the country’s energy law and impose a total ban on Russian gas imports from Jan. 1, 2023.
By amending the Energy Act, the parliament ordered the diversification of the country’s natural gas supply and the provision of strategic natural gas reserves.
Under the new regulations, the country cannot import natural gas from Russia. Back in April, the Riga government decided to suspend Russian gas imports until Jan. 1, 2023. The legislation also obliged the Latvian natural gas provider to form a strategic reserve.
According to the law, service providers must fill the underground gas reservoir in Incukalns with as much natural gas as consumers may need between Oct. 1 and April 30 of the following year by Aug. 31 at the latest.
“The strategic reserves of gas should be provided to the extent that supply protection is possible (…) to ensure the capacity of the electricity base for the production of electricity in power plants,” said Krišjānis Feldmanis, chairman of the National Economy, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Commission.
Until now, Russia was Latvia’s most important supplier of natural gas. However, due to the war in Ukraine, the Baltic country has suspended Russian imports and currently mainly obtains the energy from neighboring Lithuania. Latvia also plans to build its own terminals to receive liquefied natural gas (LNG).