TALLINN - The Ministry of Economy has indefinitely suspended all procurements of fuel for the country's national fuel reserve as the Public Procurement Board has expressed doubts about the legality of the purchases.
Einari Kisel, head of the department of energy at the ministry, said that while the law on the reserve of liquid fuel adopted earlier this year referred to the need to observe the Public Procurement Act, the law could be interpreted in different ways.
"The question is whether we should arrange a public procurement tender for such procurements together with all the procedures that go with it," he said. "The matter should be solved with the new Public Procurement Act, which is still being drafted."
The matter is due to be discussed by Parliament's economics committee this week, Kisel added.
The state-owned Agency for Estonian Liquid Fuel Reserve in September this year announced tenders for the purchase and storage of 1,100 tons of heavy fuel oil, 1,400 tons of aircraft petrol, 3,700 tons of 95 octane gasoline and 7,500 tons of diesel.
Another tender for the purchase and storage of 12,800 tons of gasoline and 26,200 tons of diesel was to be announced in early October.
Estonia has promised the EU it would gradually establish a reserve of liquid fuel for 90 days' average consumption by the year 2010. The reserve is meant to help the country out in case of a crisis.
Procurements have so far failed due to high prices. At the end of last year Estonia bought supplies corresponding to five days' consumption from Statoil, a Norwegian oil producer.