Estonian companies preparing for falling gas volume come autumn
Estonian companies are making preparations for reduced gas volume this fall. While some can switch to alternatives, like shale oil, this is not possible for everyone.
Sirje Potisepp, head of the Estonian Food Industry Association, said that she is worried the issue has not been paid more attention.
"Where is the national crisis plan should it turn out we don't have enough gas? I perceive a great risk in terms of food security in Estonia as some industries that need a lot of gas – where you need to boil, pasteurize and heat things – will grind to a halt. Companies all have crisis plans A, B and C," she said.
Potisepp added that the association wants certainty from the government in that companies will have the gas they need after summer.
Nordic Milk, that operates the Tere and Farmi trademarks, has invested hundreds of thousands of euros in switching to shale oil since spring.
"We have been working on altering our energy source since this spring. We have switched one plant from gas to shale oil and are about to finish the work in another," CEO Ülo Kivine said.
"The dairy works 24/7, and our trucks go out to farms at night. If we run out of gas even for a single day, the disruption will affect farms as well as end consumers and supermarket shelves," he said.
Martti Lemendik, executive manager of metal receptacles maker Metaprint, said that the company has no way to switch its machinery to using shale oil and that it will simply stop should gas run out.
"We cannot replace gas with shale oil or heavy fuel oil because the technology requires very precise management. Natural gas is a relatively good source of heat and energy as it can be accurately regulated. Without it, these technologies will simply not work. Reduced gas supply would probably see us scale down production. Those are our options as we cannot regulate the amount of gas the process needs, it is set in stone in the process description," the manager explained.
Should Estonia fall short on gas, the company can move its activities to the Netherlands.
"We can reduce gas consumption for the winter season by moving a part of production to our plant in the Netherlands where we believe gas security is a little better courtesy of local stockpiles," Lemendik said.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski