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Estonian and Finnish companies appeal to Latvian government over pipeline shutdown

Estonian and Finnish energy companies have written to the Latvian government objecting to a planned shutdown of an important energy link by Latvia's gas supply company for reconstruction work.

A joint statement signed by Ants Noot, chairman of AS Eesti Gaas (Estonia); Kalev Reiljan, board member of Elenger Oy (Finland); and Aivo Adamson, member of the board of AS Alexela (Estonia)
claims the shutdown of a pipeline by Latvia's AS Conexus Baltic Grid at short notice will cause economic damage and could result in legal action.

"Energy companies of the Baltic States and Finland cannot agree with the plan of AS Conexus Baltic Grid to stop operation of the Balticconnector between Estonia and Finland for entire May 2020 at such short notice and at the time which is critical enough already. The stoppage is due to planned reconstruction of the Vireši-Tallinn pipeline by AS Conexus Baltic Grid which was published only on 20th of March 2020," said the joint statement.

"We have tried in good faith to reach a joint agreement with AS Conexus Baltic Grid regarding postponement of the reconstruction works, however, our attempts have been unsuccessful. Therefore, we appeal to the system operators of the three Baltic States and Finland, and to the Latvian government, to find a solution that will take into consideration interests of joint gas market and all its participants," the statement says.

The disgruntled Finnish and Estonian companies sharply criticise the timing of the reconstruction work and say it will cause "extensive economic damage" that "will amount to millions of euros".

Furthermore the statement drops none-too-subtle hints that if the shutdown goes ahead it could cloud future regional cooperation opportunities.

"The reconstruction works have not received approval of the Estonian, Lithuanian and Finnish system operators. Such hasty behaviour which does not take interests of the market participants into account puts reliability of subsequent operation of the pipeline, as well as cooperation capacities and energy security of the states, in serious doubt," it warns.

"Conexus has to postpone all reconstruction works planned in May 2020 for at least a year. That way, the market participants can take into account the situation and reorganise the supply," it says before concluding with a threat of legal action.

"We hereby inform you, that in case we should bear the damages due to the unexpected stoppage of the gas flow, we will have no other option than to claim such damages amounting to millions of euros from the transmission system operators," the statement says.

The unified natural gas market, which unites that gas transmission system operators in Finland, Latvia and Estonia, started its operation on 1 January, 2020, as previously reported by LSM.


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