VENTSPILS FEARS BUTINGE TERMINAL'S OPENING: The commissioning of Butinge oil terminal in Lithuania might result in reduced flow of Russian oil via the western Latvian port of Ventspils, said Ventspils Nafta President Igors Skoks. He said if Butinge oil terminal began operating this year, it might affect the results of Ventspils Nafta performance in 1999. He reminded that in the first five months of 1999 the company has reloaded 9.3 million tons of oil and oil products, an increase of 1 million tons over the same period last year. Butinge oil terminal is expected to start operation soon. Its capacity is planned as 8 million tons per year.
HIGH INTEREST IN LITHUANIAN SHIPPING COMPANY: Seven potential investors have acquired sets of documents providing information about a tender to privatize Lithuanian Shipping Company. Potential buyers from Norway, Denmark, Finland, Cyprus and Sweden may submit bids and investment offers by June 15. The tender commission will start a preliminary review of the documents immediately after that. The state is selling its 79.85 percent stake in the shipping company, retaining only a golden share which will allow to maintain the company's status of a national shipper. Some experts say that the state may get between 120 million ($30 million) and 160 million litas for the company.
PARNU PORT OWNER EYES TARTU RIVER PORT: The company Laevatoo, which belongs to the major owner of Parnu Port - Rein Kilk, wants to buy the Tartu river port with its surrounding land. "Laevatoo filed an application to the municipal government to buy the port for 1 million kroons [$65,833], but if the port is sold together with the plot of land, the town could earn half a million kroons more," said Tartu Mayor Andrus Ansip. He said the town has no objections to the sale of the port, since the company, which currently rents the port, has already brought the former fleet into working order. In case of a possible sale, the city government will lay on Laevatoo the obligation of maintaining shipping on the River Emajogi.
DANES BUY INTO LITHUANIA'S LEADING INSURER: Denmark's Codan and the Lithuanian State Assets Fund signed a purchase-sale contract on 70 percent of shares in Lietuvos Draudimas insurance company June 11. The Danes have paid 105.23 million litas ($26,307,500), or 377 litas a share, for the stake in Lithuania's leading insurer. The new owners have pledged to invest another 100 million litas in the company over five years, with 60 million litas of the sum due this year. The remaining shares in Lietuvos Draudimas are owned by Merita Bank (14 percent), the Finnish insurance company Sampo (7 percent) and about 300 small shareholders.
CANADIANS INTERESTED IN ESTONIA'S OIL SHALE: Canada's Suncor Energy is interested in using Estonian oil shale for production of oil. It is not ruled out that in the first stage, the Estonian government will grant Suncor the use of a mine, if the Canadian company buys a 40 percent stake in the Eesti Polevkivi oil shale company. Suncor Energy, which has been interested in Estonian oil for the past year, may build in Estonia a shale oil refinery based on new technology Suncor has used in Australia. The refinery would use 6 million to 7 million tons of oil shale a year, and Suncor's investment would be to the tune of hundreds of millions of kroons.
PEAT FACTORY TO OPEN IN LATVIA: In autumn this year, one of the largest peat production facilities might begin operating on the premises of Balozi peat factory. Balozi Managing Director Zdeneks Buholcs said the facility would belong to Pinsdup Latvija, a subsidiary of the Danish Pinsdup Mosebak company. "We have leased them the area, and the facility will be situated within our territory," Buholcs said. He pointed out that the peat market in Latvia was actually controlled by Danish companies which exported Latvian-made peat and also supplied it to local customers. The production facility will receive peat from several locations in Latvia.