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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Estonia Extends Energy Sources

TALLINN, Estonia -- Estonia, once dependent on the old Soviet Union for all its imported energy, aims to diversify its sources of oil and gas to ensure security of supply and make the most of shifts in world prices. Since gaining independence from Moscow in 1991 and liberalizing its energy market, the Baltic republic has developed new terminal facilities to allow it to import oil products and further improvements are planned. A future connection to North Sea gas fields is also under discussion to provide an alternative to the Russian gas which is currently Estonia's only source. "I would like to be in a position to be able to take all types of fuel from any direction so that we can take advantage of price shifts or even political shifts," Energy Minister Arvo Niitenberg said. Neighboring Russia would continue to be an important source but not an exclusive one, Niitenberg said. Most of the 931,000 tons of heavy fuel oil Estonia used last year came from Russia. The 30,000 tons of light fuel oil came from Russia, the West and domestic oil shale. Russia and the West each supplied half the 287,000 tons of diesel. Lower grades of the 142,000 tons of gasoline used were from Russia while higher grades were sourced in the West. All Estonia's gas comes from Russia. This year, the government forecasts 550 million cubic meters will be used, compared with 442 million in 1993. Estonia aims to increase the use of domestic energy. In 1993, oil shale made up about 64 percent of its fuel consumption with 4.5 percent coming from peat and wood. This compared with 53 percent from oil shale in 1990 and seven percent from peat and wood. Niitenberg said the fall in energy use in Estonia as a result of economic decline and the collapse of the Soviet military industry had stabilized.