Lithuanian gas supplier Dujotekana said yesterday it signed an 11-year gas supply agreement with Russian Gazprom to import al least 1.5 cubic metres of natural gas annually beginning 2002.

"It is planned that in 2002 Dujotekana will import to Lithuania 1.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas, that is around half of the (country's) planned gas imports of around three billion cubic metres," Dujotekana said in a statement.

The company said gas supply volumes would continue to increase, and by 2012 import volumes would reach two billion cubic metres.

The company declined to specify the gas prices in the statement, citing confidential reasons, but said the price would be "slightly lower" than what Gazprom charges to Lithuania's gas utility Lietuvos Dujos.

It is planned that Lietuvos Dujos will buy 450 million cubic metres directly from Gazprom and will transport 610 million cubic metres to Russia's Kaliningrad region next year. Another 720 million cubic metres will be imported by fertiliser firm Achema and about 300 million cubic meteres are seen being imported by gas trader Itera Lietuva.

"Dujotekana will serve clients who consume more than 15 million cubic metres annually while Lietuvos Dujos will serve those consumers under that level," Dujos acting CEO Vidmantas Cepukonis, told Reuters.

He declined to comment how much Dujos would pay for the gas, saying it was confidential. "The newly agreed price will be valid until July 1 and it will be renegotiated for the second half of the year in June, taking into consideration the prices of other types of fuel," Cepukonis added.