News

2019.12.19 10:00

Lithuanian-Polish pipeline constructor under scrutiny for business in Russia

Sniegė Balčiūnaitė, Šarūnas Sabaitis, Roma Pakėnienė, BNS2019.12.19 10:00

A Seimas committee has suggested that a governmental commission reexamine whether Alvora, a Lithuanian pipeline construction company involved in the Gas Interconnector Poland-Lithuania (GIPL) construction, may pose a threat to national security, following an LRT report about the company's business in Russia.

The Committee on National Security and Defence (NSGK) decided on Wednesday to ask for another review of Alvora by the governmental commission vetting strategic projects.

Alvora won a 90-million-euro contract to build the Lithuanian part of the GIPL.

LRT Investigation Team has found that Alvora built shopping centers in the Russian region of Kaliningrad for Russian Duma member Oleg Bolychev, who is a member of Vladimir Putin's United Russia party, as well as for incumbent Kaliningrad Prime Minister Alexander Rolbinov.

According to NSGK Chairman Dainius Gaižauskas, the committee has no legal right force the review, but it can ask the government commission to re-examine information on Alvora.

“In light of certain information [...], it was proposed at the committee to ask the commission to conduct, if possible, another review of [Alvora's] compliance with our national security interests,” he told BNS.

Information provided by the State Security Department on Wednesday does not differ earlier reports, according to the chairman.

“The threats have neither increased nor decreased. We may say that all risks are under control,” he told reporters after the committee's meeting.

Alminas Mačiulis, the government's vice chancellor who chairs the governmental commission, told reporters that Alvora had been unanimously cleared by the commission earlier this year.

Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas believes that Lithuania's power transmission grid operator Amber Grid will manage all risks.

Alvora completed the construction of the Estonian-Finnish gas pipeline Balticconnector, a project of strategic significance to Estonia, a week ago, the minister noted.

“We have a vetting mechanism that Estonia perhaps does not, but the project was carried out on schedule and successfully there,” he said.

According to Rolandas Žukas, CEO at Epso-G, Amber Grid's shareholder, time is an issue, but the project is not yet running behind schedule. Some of the pipes for the project have already been manufactured, he noted.

Alvora, together with Šiaulių Dujotiekio Statyba, won a contract worth almost 90 million euros to build the gas pipeline to Poland. The contract is expected to be signed by the end of this month, with the project planned to be completed in late 2021.

The GIPL project is estimated to cost 500 million euros in total, including up to 136 million euros in Lithuania. The project has been allocated up to 295.4 million euros in EU funding, including up to 58 million euros for Lithuania.