Cabinet to Hear Minister, Ansip Firm on Gas Pipeline ({{commentsTotal}})

Juhan Parts
Juhan Parts Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip has taken time out on the economy minister's idea to construct two smaller LNG terminals on the shores of both Finland and Estonia instead of just one of the countries, saying that the Cabinet will hear Juhan Parts's idea.

Economic Affairs Minister Parts's (IRL) proposition, made to his Finnish counterpart last week and first covered in Finnish media, came as a surprise to IRL's senior coalition partner, the Reform Party, with Ansip saying that the Cabinet is yet to discuss the idea.

Ansip said that the Balticconnector, a proposed natural gas pipeline between the two nations, is the basis for integrating the two gas markets, and it would be postponed if both Finland and Estonia built LNG terminals.

Citing disagreements between Russia and Ukraine - when the former turned off gas supplies, Ukraine bought Russian gas via pipelines through Germany - Ansip said it is also a question of guaranteeing supply.

He said that the best case scenario for Estonia would be a LNG terminal on its shores, with a pipeline to Finland, while the second best would be a Finnish terminal, and a pipeline to Estonia.

Parts will have a chance to further explain his idea to the Cabinet at its meeting on Thursday, Ansip said.

The EU is interested in underwriting a large part of the 500 million euros because it wants to bring an alternative gas supplier to the region, and Parts's actions are seen by the Cabinet as risking losing that funding, Eesti Päevaleht wrote. Parts counters that the clock is already ticking on an offer that will expire soon, with the first round having to be evaluated by late spring.