Gazprom quits Estonia as it sells stake in Eesti Gaas

By bne IntelliNews May 23, 2016

Trilini Energy has reportedly bought Gazprom out of Estonian gas utility Eesti Gaas, the Russian gas giant reported on May 23.

The deal on the 37% stake in the Estonian gas importer and supplier was announced by Eesti Gaas earlier this month. Estonia unbundled its gas pipelines from the utility in 2012, making the stake largely worthless for Gazprom, which has been jealously fighting to retain control of the Baltic gas market by controlling infrastructure. Estonian consumes just 700mn cubic metres of gas per year.

Gazprom said in a statement that it has withdrawn from the capital of Eesti Gaas by selling its 37% stake for €24.57mn. The deal hands Trilini Energy 88% of the company, after it acquired 51% from Finland’s Fortum in March. Trilini says it plans to move onto negotiating the purchase of further shares in the company from Itera Latvija, which is controlled by Russian oil giant Rosneft.

“As the next step of increasing our share in Eesti Gaas we will negotiate with Itera Latvija that owns 10% of Eesti Gaas shares, and then with minority shareholders,” Ain Hanschmidt, a member of the board at Trilini parent Infortar, and the chairman of the council of AS Eesti Gaas, said on May 13 as the deal was agreed.

Like its Baltic neighbours, Estonia formerly sourced all of its supplies from Gazprom. However, the opening of Lithuania's LNG platform at the start of 2015 offered an alternative for the first time.

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