Ott Ummelas, Bloomberg - Jun 6, 2012
Estonia’s parliament approved legislation to separate ownership of natural-gas sales and transmission operations to reduce dependence on Russia’s OAO Gazprom, the only supplier of the fuel to the Baltic nation.
Lawmakers in the capital, Tallinn, voted 52-28 today in favor of the bill, which would force energy company AS Eesti Gaas to sell its pipeline unit by 2015 or risk a fine and nationalization of the business.
Eesti Gaas, whose biggest shareholder is Gazprom, will ask President Toomas Ilves to reject the bill as unconstitutional, board member Raul Kotov said in an e-mailed statement. Russia’s gas export monopoly has a 37 percent stake in Eesti Gaas, while Germany’s E.ON AG (EOAN) has 33.7 percent, Finland’s Fortum Oyj (FUM1V) has 17.7 percent and Latvia’s Itera Latvija owns 10 percent.
Estonia’s ruling Reform Party published plans in 2010 to unbundle the gas industry and lower dependence on Gazprom, the sole supplier of gas to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The three countries are seeking European Union support to build a liquefied natural gas terminal in the region, saying they’re being charged more for Russian gas imports than western European countries and citing supply risks.
Estonian Parliament Approves Natural-Gas Unbundling Bill