While the state has been considering fast-tracking the construction of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal at the port of Paldiski, in an effort to remove dependency on Russian natural gas, this needs to be done in concert with Estonia's nearest democratic neighbors, Finland and Latvia.
Timo Tatar, Undersecretary of Energy at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) Tuesday that the state should: "Find out what other countries are willing to get involved in the project and make it clear what options are still on the table.
"In fact, in order for Finland to be ready to join the Estonian project, it, too needs to review what options it has on the table, as does Latvia. Then it reaching a decision that we will really focus on one project and help implement it will become viable. That is what we were tasked with by the government today," Tatar added.
Reform MP and chair of the Riigikogu's economic affairs committee Kristen Michal concurred that the three countries should stop buying Russian natural gas, albeit at cheaper prices than LNG, all at the same time.
Michal told AK that: "Naturally, from an economic perspective, it makes sense to do this together with a wider region, which means the three Baltic states plus Finland."
Tuesday's cabinet meeting made it clear that a regional terminal was expedient, AK reported.
As reported by ERR News, this might take the form of a floating terminal, i.e. a specially fitted-out ship, as already operates off the coast of Lithuania, and which would have a capacity of 30 TWh of LNG per annum – sufficient for the annual needs of Estonia, Finland and Latvia combined.
Timo Tarter noted that Estonia's consumption would be the lowest component of this, at 5 TWh per year, or about five LNG tanker vessel replenishments (the LNG vessel would be refilled from arriving vessels then connected to the mainland by a pipeline- ed.).
The three states are likely to discuss the plans in the near future, including how the project might get implemented, who would contribute what and how much etc., Timo Tatar added.
The original deadline set by the economics affairs ministry was this autumn.
Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the state is keen to get away from a situation where natural gas is still purchased from the state-owned Gazprom concern, though Russian natural gas and oil is still flowing to the EU at present. The U.S. has blocked imports of Russian oil, and does not import natural gas.
Editor: Andrew Whyte