The government agreed on Thursday that Estonia will give up its stake in the company that operates the Finnish LNG terminal and spend the €30 million budgeted for this purpose to buy additional gas reserves.
"We decided not to acquire a stake in the company that operates the Finnish LNG terminal and use the €30 million set aside in the supplementary budget for this purpose to [replenish] Estonia's gas reserves," Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said at a government press conference, adding that this is in line with the Act on the State's Supplementary Budget.
"In the supplemental budget, we decided to allocate €30 million for the security of gas supply to the Estonian Stockpiling Agency (AS Eesti Varude Keskus or ESPA) to serve the same goal in a different way. Therefore, if it cannot be achieved through the purchase of a stake, as it would be not practical at this time, it can be achieved through the purchase of additional gas. This option is available," Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Riina Sikkut said at the same press conference.
This decision, Sikkut said, is based on Estonia's assessment that the application of Article 36 of the EU Gas Directive for providing an advantage for joint purchases is not linked to the acquisition of a shareholding.
Kallas also emphasized that Estonia is striving to guarantee that both Estonian and Finnish gas sellers have "very clear" access to the terminal.
Sikkut said that the government had decided to establish a legal framework for the strategic natural gas reserve, the first of its kind in Estonia, which would specify the size of the reserve as well as how the associated costs would be covered. For this purpose, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications is preparing amendment proposals to the Natural Gas Act.
Sikkut said that the security of gas supply has changed since the spring: whereas in the fall there were fears of gas shortages, today there is an abundance of gas, but at a very high price; this is a problem that is being discussed throughout Europe.
Editor: Kristina Kersa