Taavi Veskimägi, CEO of Estonia's power and gas transmission network operator Elering, said that the Port of Paldiski should be ready to receive liquified natural gas (LNG) by November 1.
Veskimägi shed light on the joint Estonian and Finnish plan for handling LNG on the "Esimene stuudio" talk show, with Alexela building the mooring quay and Elering ensuring necessary links.
"Basically, the plan is that transmission network operators Elering in Estonia and Gasgrid in Finland will construct infrastructure necessary for receiving LNG in Paldiski on the south side of the Gulf of Finland and Inkoo in the north, while we will lease a ship between us," the CEO said.
Holdings and costs will be determined based on each country's total gas consumption, which is around 20 terawatt-hours (TWh) in Finland and 5 TWh in Estonia.
Veskimägi said that the ship will arrive by the next heating season at the terminal which is ready to receive it by then. Plans suggest the terminal in Paldiski will be finished before the one in Inkoo.
"The plan we have laid down with Alexela prescribes having the capacity to receive LNG in Paldiski by November 1," Veskimägi said, adding that it is a very short time.
"We will be going for the world record here. No such LNG handling terminal has been built in a matter of months. Germany that wants two terminals has said it will take two or three years.
Veskimägi suggested that Finland should have the capacity a year later.
"At least we believe ours will be ready by fall, and whether Finland finishes its terminal sooner or later has no bearing on our gas consumers. And hopefully also on Finnish consumers because the Balticconnector [pipeline] coupled with the Halinga LNG terminal can cover much of the country's gas consumption without the need for Russian deliveries," the system operator head said.
PM of Latvia Krišjanis Karinš has said that in addition to Paldiski, Latvia could also have an LNG terminal. Veskimägi said that two terminals would be enough to cover regional demand.
He confirmed that Estonia has its eye on a suitable LNG vessel. "We have our sights on a ship that is the right size, has the right output capacity and could be in the Gulf of Finland area by November 1," he said.
Veskimägi added that while there is plenty of gas on the market, its price is what matters.
"Gas purchases will not be made by system operators tasked with building the terminals and their operators down the line. It falls to market participants. The global LNG market is highly liquid, with 25 or even 50 TWh almost constantly available – a single ship takes on 1 TWh – with price being the question as well as what it will do in the future. It will be an issue of price rather than availability."
The LNG project will also affect the end price for consumers.
"Just like the government compensated people for peak prices in winter, the LNG project costs will not reflect in consumer prices. The government has extra funding for that. What will be included is the 700 meters of pipeline we will have to build in Paldiski and the mooring sites. But it amounts to roughly €0.38 per MWh," Veskimägi said.
Editor: Marcus Turovski