MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin opened Russia's first liquefied natural gas (LNG) floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) on Tuesday, saying it bolsters the country's energy security.
The Marshal Vasilevskiy FSRU has been set up in Kaliningrad, wedged between European Union members Poland and Lithuania, by Russian energy giant Gazprom <GAZP.MM> to bypass pipeline gas deliveries via Lithuania in case transit is disrupted.
Moscow's decision to set up the FSRU was in part to reduce gas transit risks to Kaliningrad, home to a Baltic Fleet base, as the EU steps up efforts to reduce its dependency on Russia, a Kremlin-published transcript of Putin's speech said.
"In recent years we have paid much attention to energy supplies, to the energy of the region as a whole, including in connection with EU plans to remove the Baltic states from Russia's energy ring," Putin said.
"This is their (EU countries') business. Additional tax payers' money will be invested into that."
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller told the Interfax news agency that supplies to Kaliningrad from Lithuania had been completely halted on Tuesday and replaced with natural gas from the FSRU.
The FSRU, the first of its kind in Russia which arrived from Singapore last month with a cargo on board to commission the LNG import facility, can provide Kaliningrad with 2.7 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas a year, Gazprom has said.
LNG is delivered by tankers, meaning it can be supplied to many markets.
(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Alexander Smith)