TALLINN - The Estonian Economy Ministry hopes that the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal could start at the beginning of the next year, or at least in the first half of the year, as the location of the terminal is still unclear, reports Public Broadcasting.
Next week, the European Commission should reveal the list of infrastructure projects that will apply for financing from the Connecting Europe funds in the next budgetary period. Inkoo in Finland, Paldiski and Muuga in Estonia and Riga in Latvia are likely to compete to be the location for the regional LNG terminal. These projects will have the right to submit investment applications by the end of October.
Tallinna Sadam, that plans the LNG terminal in Muuga as well as Alexela Energia that is behind the Paldiski project, confirmed intentions to submit the investment application on time. “By then we will compile the application and submit it, since by then we most likely will have completed the design of the project, and the construction price is hopefully more precise,” said Marti Haal, one of the owners of Alexela Group.
The hope that still existed in spring, that the Commission won’t use all the time it is entitled to make the decision and will make the decision in summer already, didn’t come true.
“Should this decision-making process be delayed too long, if we don’t know where the work should start, then completion of the terminal will be postponed too. If we talk about the fact that in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, gas contracts with Gazprom end in 2015, then we need a realistic solution,” said Economy and Communications Ministry adviser Thor-Sten Vertmann.
If all goes according to the plans of the EU, the decision about the LNG terminal should come sometime in the next six months. “The positive scenario is that construction could start at the beginning of 2014. On condition that the decision-makers don’t use up the time given to them fully, but make the decision earlier,” said Vertmann.