RIGA, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- The prime ministers of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia met at a natural gas storage facility outside the Latvian capital Riga on Friday to discuss energy cooperation, local media reported.
The Baltic states have agreed to create a single regional gas market by 2020, and there is a plan to involve Finland as well, which would help attract more suppliers to the market.
The meeting at the Incukalns underground gas storage facility was part of the Baltic prime ministers' joint tour of key regional gas infrastructure sites, which had been agreed at a meeting in Tallinn earlier this year.
The Baltic premiers have already visited Paldiski in Estonia, where they were introduced to Estonia's plan to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, and the Lithuanian seaport of Klaipeda where they inspected the floating LNG terminal Independence. Lithuania hopes to secure other Baltic countries' support for the buyout of the Independence from the vessel's present owner, the Norwegian company Hoegh LNG.
During the meeting at Incukalns, Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis along with his Estonian colleague Juri Rattas and Lithuania's Saulius Skvernelis inspected the underground gas storage facility and discussed the Baltic states' energy cooperation, the Latvian premier's spokesman Andrejs Vaivars informed.
Kucinskis indicated during the talks with his Baltic counterparts that regional energy infrastructure has to be developed based on free market principles because this alone can guarantee the "best result -- the lowest possible gas price for consumers".
The prime ministers of the three Baltic states acknowledged the regional significance of the Incukalns underground gas storage facility, which is expected to facilitate the functioning of the regional gas market and the security of gas supplies.
All three premiers agreed on the necessity to develop an economically sustainable solution for a fully functional regional gas market that would ensure gas supplies to all Baltic states. There was also unanimity about the importance of a long-term infrastructure strategy promoting market activity and ensuring secure gas deliveries from various suppliers.