4th Annual Baltic Energy Summit: Stronger together?


Our 4th Annual Baltic Energy Summit took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel Olümpia in Tallinn, Estonia (14-15 November 2012). Bringing together over 160 participants from over 20 countries, this summit ensured both regional and international decision makers and interested parties had the perfect chance to discuss the future of the Baltic energy market.

 

Government representatives from Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania expertly presented their countries’ current energy strategy and objectives; whilst Ambassadorial representatives from over 15 countries were available throughout the two days to discuss challenges and opportunities further. Special thanks to all our Associate Sponsors: ABB, E.ON Ruhrgas International, Fortum and Vopak; our Legal Partner: Rödl & Partner; Bronze Sponsor: Eesti Gaas, and our Silver Sponsor and Cocktail Reception Host: Gasum; who each provided superb contributions throughout the two day event.

 

The conference opened with addresses by Deputy Secretary General Ando Leppiman (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications - Estonia), Director General of Energy Department Esa Härmälä (Ministry of Employment and the Economy - Finland), Director of the Department of Energy Dins Merirands (Ministry of Economics - Latvia), and MP Birute Vesaite (Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Lithuania). Subsequently followed by Chairman of the Norwegian-Estonian Chamber of Commerce, Mr Paal Aschjem, who outlined potential investments.

 

Mr Taavi Veskimägi (Elering) followed with an engaging presentation highlighting the need for integration and a common market, raising a few questions, most notably from the British Ambassador and conference Chairman Andrey Belyy (University of Tartu) who queried how far other key market players agreed with proposed aspirations.

 

The Financing session opened with a comprehensive project financing overview by Ms Simona Apostol-Siegl (UniCredit). Mr Rodney Kincaid from Balmoral Capital Holdings Inc. (USA) followed, certainly living up to the charming American stereotype presenting comical Christmas gifts for both Chairman Andrei Belyi (University of Tartu) and organiser Stephanie Gryszan Brindley (EEL Events). Swiftly getting down to business Mr Kincaid’s feature presentation was most attentively received by the audience with various comments and questions being directed to him during the following panel discussion. This panel, chaired by Mr Gregory Rubinchik (KPMG), included representatives from DNB Bank, EIB, Finasta Corporate Finance, NIB, SEB, and UniCredit,  who stressed the growing need for regulation and stability. Thoughts were shared on various renewable projects and infrastructure issues, with the participants from the audience requesting to hear panellists’ opinions on the hot topic of the day – LNG – and how to finance such a complex project.

 

Lunch served in the Senso restaurant followed, providing an excellent opportunity to further discuss points raised throughout the morning and to prepare for the afternoon gas session ahead.

 

The afternoon of Day 1 was opened by Mr Mario Nullmeier (E.ON Ruhrgas International) who illustrated how they see the market and some benefits of small-scale LNG, whilst echoing one of the recurrent themes of the event: security of supply. Mr Antero Jännes (Gasum) then presented the alternative, and the Finnish perspective of how a regional LNG terminal is possible. Drawing on the availability of EU funds and recent ventures with Lietuvos Dujos, Mr Jännes emphasised the need for cooperation and integration. But as Mr Baumanis (Nord Stream) highlighted, does everyone agree? A question shortly to be addressed by Mr Sergei Jefimov who followed, presenting AS EG Võrguteenus’ (Estonian TSO) ten years network development plan (TYNDP), with support from Richard Sarsfield-Hall (Pöyry - who have been commissioned to analyse the Estonian gas network development). This presentation concluded with a direct acknowledgment to Gasum’s previous proposal that a regional LNG terminal is indeed needed, along with integrated connections, which can be achieved “together, not alone”. Although as Ms Vesaite (Lithuanian MP) once again questioned from the audience, do others agree?

 

Before concluding for the afternoon’s dynamic coffee break that offered the perfect opportunity for networking and discussion, a final feature presentation was given by Mr Timo Vehrs (Gazprom Germania GmbH). Mr Vehrs provided a refreshingly optimistic outlook that small-scale LNG is “no future fantasy”, using as a case study their successful cooperation with Polish bus company, Solbus.

 

Mr Joop Jonkers (Vopak) resumed after the coffee break presenting their “ambitions for Estonia”, emphasising the similarities between Rotterdam and Tallinn, illustrating another option to consider, which was soon to be discussed during the following panel. This most anticipated expert panel was skilfully chaired by Mr Henning Gloystein (Thomas Reuters) and included dynamic contributions from the following: Mr Tiit Kullerkupp, (Chairman of the Board - Eesti Gaas), Mr Mario Nullmeier (Head of Representative Office for the Baltic States - E.ON Ruhrgas International), Ms Helena Wisden (Senior Trading Manager - Cheniere Energy), Dr Joachim Hockertz, (Deputy General Manager - Lietuvos Dujos), Mr Romans Baumanis, (Regional Advisor for the Baltic States of Nord Stream - Nord Stream AG) and Mr Kaupo Lepasepp, (Partner and Regional Head of the Competition & Regulatory Team – SORAINEN). The issue of LNG was not the only heated topic to be debated, comparisons were also drawn between the current market and oil world of 30 years ago; whilst coal, shale gas and wind were also thrown into the picture. The consensus, as highlighted by Mr Nullmeier, is that the future is positive: full of challenges and opportunities that it appears all are ready to take on.

 

Day 1 closed with a cocktail reception hosted by Gasum, with a welcoming speech by Mr Simo Lahesalu, allowing participants to reflect upon the day’s events in a relaxed environment over a glass of wine and canapés.

(For conference Chairman, Mr Andrey Belyy's, full day summary see the following: http://www.eelevents.co.uk/uploads/ )

 

Day 2 opened with Mr Peep Siitam (Estonian Development Fund) welcoming back our international audience with a comprehensive overview of the Baltic energy generation mix and alternative sources available to be discussed in further detail throughout the day.

 

Mr Gatis Junghans (Elektrum Eesti OÜ) first provided an overview of Baltic electricity consumption, underlining how much is imported in the region and the potential underused capacity. The solution: cooperation, integration and connecting the market - a theme reiterated throughout this two day conference. Mr Jaanus Arukaevu (Eesti Energia) then took to the stage providing a self-proclaimed sales pitch, emphasising projects’ need of state support in a well-received discussion on how “only freaks or extremely rich people” can otherwise succeed. Next we heard from Mr Sergey Boyarkin (Rosatom) who provided an excellent case for nuclear and the lessons to be learnt from Fukushima. The need for regional integration and connectivity were once again underlined, before invitations were extended to visit Rosatom sites in Kalingrad and elsewhere.

 

The morning session closed allowing the audience a chance to refuel in a most interactive networking coffee break, with various media representatives seizing the opportunity to gain a few personal interviews, whilst others debated the morning’s speeches.

 

Participants returned from the networking coffee break and heard Ms Annette Berkhan (Pöyry) present on the changing role of various power and different mechanisms that need to be put in place in order to complete BEMIP and integrate the Baltic grid. The following panel discussion Chaired by Mr Sarsfield-Hall (Pöyry) offered the opportunity to further discuss what is really needed and learn what market players really think. Whilst all panellists including (Mr Gatis Jughans – Elektrum, Mr Bo Henriksson – ABB, Mr Sami Oksanen - Nord Pool Spot, Mr Arnis Staltmanis - AS Augstsprieguma tikls, and Mr Juha Hiekkala – Fingrid Oyj, ENTSO-E) emphasised the need for an integrated approach; Mr Staltmanis (AS Augstsprieguma tikls) referred specifically to key issues such as the need to know how much the EU is prepared to finance. Other noteworthy comments from the discussion include the effect of pricing and what the Baltic energy mix will look like in 2020, perhaps Estonia will be exporting power to Russia…

 

After lunch Mr Tobias Kohler (Rödl & Partner) took to the stage outlining project phrases, drawing on specific case studies which received a few laughs from the audience. Following this feature presentation, Mr Jaakko Vähä-Piikkiö (Fortum) discussed their vision of the future Baltic energy mix, and the need for greater liberalisation and competition in the market. A most interesting case study was then provided by Mr Viido Polikarpus (Energy Smart) who emphasised that “the end of relatively cheap Uranium is near”, and Estonia should protect its valuable oil shale reserves for the future and today focus on “free” sources such as solar and wind. Mr Polikarpus further elaborated on the need to learn from Germany and how projects can be realised without “EU hand-outs” – a suggestion questioned in great detail during the later renewable panel discussion. Before the final networking coffee break of the summit, Mr Jean Sacreste (Dalkia) outlined concerns regarding unbundling and tariff structures – seconded by Mr Vähä-Piikkiö from the audience.

 

The final session of the day was dedicated to a panel discussion on delivering renewable projects in the Baltics. Participants included: Mrs Inese Ikstena (Public Utilities Commission), Mr Hadley Barrett (Oxford Sustainable Group), Mr Paulis Barons (Latvian Wind Energy Association), Mr Raine Pajo (Eesti Energia), Mr Rodney Kincaid (Balmoral Capital Holdings, Inc.), and Mr Eero Saava (Estonian Wind Power Association). Debate flowed between all panellists, including direct requests, for example by Mr Saava to Mr Kohler to bring his German investors to the Baltics. The prominent theme throughout was that “all those who speak about renewables should speak with one voice…no matter if you come from wind, solar….” As Mr Kincaid stated, you need to “do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Despite being at the close of the conference, this dynamic discussion gained the most audience enthusiasm and interaction, with Chairman Mr Siitam reluctant to finish the day. As he summarised: there are still more questions than answers.

 

EEL Events thanks all who attended our successful BES 2012 and we look forward to welcoming you back to this necessary event next year.

 

 

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