TALLINN - Gerard Doucet, secretary general of the World Energy Council, has warned Estonians of being too dependent on Russian natural gas.
According to the Postimees daily, Doucet said European countries rely too heavily on Russian gas. He also said that, according to the WEC's information, both private sector and government negotiations with Russia over the price of gas are anything but satisfying.
Russia is a European but also an Asian country, and Russia is playing the Asian card against Europe as well as America, Doucet said.
As an alternative, he said electricity could be successfully produced from coal when the price of gas climbs too high. But Europeans are reluctant to consider this option because of greenhouse gas emissions and instead continue to rely on Russia.
In Doucet's opinion, the Russian energy sector is underfinanced. Russia is asking for as high prices as possible but at the same time investments in pipelines are insufficient.
Estonia has mainly used natural gas for heating, but in the coming years there will likely be construction of gas-fired power plants. The chairman of the board of the national power supplier Eesti Energia (Estonian Energy), Sandor Liive, predicted that in 10 years' time about one-fifth of the Baltic states' energy will be produced from Russian gas.
Some European countries are at present able to enjoy gas resources of the North Sea, but they are a minority. Europe's dependence on Russian gas will keep growing in coming years, Doucet said.
However, WEC Chairman Andre Caille was more optimistic. He said that Europe needs a price agreement with Russia and that the emergence of a global gas market would help reach one.