VILNIUS, Jan 13 (Reuters) – A gas pipeline linking Lithuania to Latvia was hit by an explosion on Friday but there was no immediate evidence of an attack, Lithuanian gas transmission operator Amber said. Grid.
Video released by Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT showed a raging fire at the site of the blast in Panevezys county in northern Lithuania. The fire has been extinguished, the general manager of the Lithuanian gas pipeline network operator said.
“Based on the initial assessment, we see no malignant cause, but the investigation will cover all possible options,” Amber Grid chief executive Nemunas Biknius told a news conference.
The gas supply was cut off, but the CEO said the explosion damaged one of two parallel pipelines carrying gas from Lithuania to Latvia and that Amber planned to restore supply using the one that was unaffected.
“We expect to restore gas supplies in a few hours, in comparable quantities. We anticipate that customers will not feel the impact of this event,” Biknius told reporters.
Lithuania, like war-torn Ukraine, borders Russia and is located on the Baltic Sea where Nord Stream gas pipelines between Russia and Germany were destroyed by explosions last year.
The flames rose initially about 50 meters (160 feet) into the air and could be seen from a distance of at least 17 km (11 miles), LRT reported.
No injuries or deaths were reported, Baltic news agency BNS said.
Povilas Balciunas, the head of public administration in the nearby town of Pasvalys, told Reuters the flames first burned like “a big gas flare” before dying down.
Reporting by Andrius Sytas, writing by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, David Evans and Grant McCool
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