Market leader Eesti Gaas says it is reducing the price of natural gas to domestic consumers to 46 cents per cubic meter from March. This follows a trend for a fall in price which began at the start of the year.
Margus Kaasik, Eesti Gaas board chair, said: "The price of natural gas has in the middle of winter dropped to summer levels. Despite the recent cold weather, the price of gas halved at the beginning of the year."
Kaasik also added that while natural gas prices drove energy prices up more generally (for instance many district heating plants use natural gas) during the last heating season (October 2022-March 2023), the situation has changed since then, and the security of supply and price of electricity have become the central issue.
The manner in which natural gas has been supplied to Estonia has also changed greatly. Whereas it was in the past piped from Russia, it now arrives as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) via tanker, principally from the U.S. and from Norway.
While Estonia has an LNG terminal at Paldiski, at present LNG heads either to Klaipeda, Lithuania, or Inkoo, Finland, to be re-gasified on the land and piped from there (though in the case of Inkoo this supply route has been harmed by last October's rupture to the submarine pipeline).
Eesti Gaas says it brought 18 shiploads of LNG to the region last year. One shipload of gas makes up about a quarter of Estonia's annual gas consumption.
In January, Eesti Gaas lowered the price of natural gas to 60 cents per cubic meter, almost half the price at year-end; in February, ie. the current month, it fell further, to, 49.5 cents, to be followed by the 46 cents per cubic meter price to be seen in March.
Fuel retailer Alexela is also to cut prices, by 18.5 percent in February as compared with January, and in March by a further 7 percent, compared with the preceding month.
The new Alexela price in March will be 45 cents per cubic meter inclusive of VAT, the company says.
Natural gas prices had started soaring even ahead of the invasion of Ukraine, and from around late summer 2021, topping the €4 per cubic meter-mark in September 2022.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mirjam Mäekivi