Natural gas supplier Eesti Gaas hopes to expand internationally, taking advantage of the expected liberalization of the Finnish gas market in 2020.
The company will go under the name Elenger internationally, but will retain the Eesti Gaas name domestically, ERR's online Estonian news reports. It aims to start its Finnish operations next year, it says.
Board chair at Eesti Gaas Ants Noots said of the development that the company hopes to provide all types of energy, with customer preferences often being for packages with complete solutions consisting of several products.
Noots said that from next year, with an opening to competition on the Finnish market, companies from all Baltic nations are likely to enter the fray. Elenger's aim is to offer a billion cubic meters of gas, about one sixth of the total consumption in the Baltic and Finnish markets – an ambitious, but achievable, plan, he says. The goal is to reach this level of supply in three years.
Board member Kalev Reiljan noted the appeal of the Finnish market, with sales activity having already taken place over the past couple of months (Eesti Gaas/Elenger has already opened a staffed office there, it says). The company has also started liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipping supply operations in Finland, and provides maintenance and repair work there, it is reported.
The Finnish gas market is currently a monopoly, with piped natural gas originating in Russia, and LNG available as a (costlier) alternative, particularly in areas with no pipelines.
The Russian piped gas supply is currently part of the focus of a European Commission investigation into its state monopoly, Gazprom, over pricing, and a conflict with Europe over the situation in Ukraine.
Breaking down the current monpoly should be viable, Reiljan says, noting the company's success with energy supply, which also includes eletricity, via subsidiary company SIA EG Energija in Latvia, and in Lithuania through its UAB EG Energija subsidiary.
Eesti Gaas/Elenger has ordered an LNG barge for bukering (ie. Providing fuel supply) for ships, which it hopes to be ready by Autum 2020. The move also has an environmental aspect in helping to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Baltic Sea carbon dioxide emissions are reprtedly as high as the entire emissions in Estonia itself; the ordered vessel will be only the sixth of its kind worldwide, and Tallinn is currently the largest bunkering port in northern Europe.
Eesti Gaas/Elenger also offers LNG supply to land-based industries, such as the Järvakandi glassworks, when it is often purchased as a back up against piped-gas supply interruptions.
Ain Handschmidt, chair of the Eesti Gaas supervisory board, has also argued in favour of reducing energy excise duties in Estonia, noting that industrial energy supply in Finland is not subject to excise duties.
The company, which was bought by Infortar three years ago, will retain the same brand colors and fonts in its Elenger logo, it is reported.
The company is also involved in solar energy solutions.
Editor: Andrew Whyte