Estonia bans natural gas imports and purchases from Russia

A gas hob.
A gas hob. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Estonia's government on Thursday adopted a sanction that banned the importing and buying of natural gas from Russia. It will enter into effect on December 31.

The ban also applies to providing associated transmission services, importing liquefied natural gas and buying with the aim of entering it into the transmission and distribution systems.

No other restrictions apply to the purchase and import of liquefied gas.

The sanction was imposed as a foreign policy measure, as in Lithuania and Latvia, Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said.

"The aim of the sanction is to pressure Russia into ending its military aggression against Ukraine, as natural gas is an important source of income for Russia and it is used as a lever against the European Union," Reinsalu said.

He added that as early as April 7, the Estonian government decided, in principle, that Estonia would no longer use Russian gas.

The sanction mainly affects entrepreneurs whose license gives them the right to import natural gas or provide transmission services. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, there are nine companies with valid gas import licenses, and one company with a license for providing transmission services.

The measure does not affect the supplies of household customers, as, since April 2022, virtually no natural gas has been imported from Russia to Estonia.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Riina Sikkut (SDE) said the sanction will not affect Estonia's gas supply security.

"We have taken several important steps to ensure sufficient gas supplies when imports from Russia end. For example, we have established the LNG terminal surge capacity and increased transmission capacities in existing interconnection points. For additional risk management, we have created national strategic gas reserves at the Estonian Stockpiling Agency, and Elering has a guaranteed reserve for consumers," Sikkut noted.

The ban enters into force on December 31.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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