The Balticconnector pipeline connecting Estonia and Finland has been shut down due to a suspected leakage and may remain offline for several months, according to Janne Gronlund, a senior executive at Finnish energy company Gasgrid. The pipeline, which was launched in 2019, spans 77 kilometers and is used to transfer gas from a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import terminal in Finland to Estonia with an annual capacity of 2.6 billion cubic meters.
Gronlund stated in an interview with Demokraatti that the pipeline may not resume operations until late winter, and even then, repair works may take some time. Gasgrid and its Estonian counterpart, Elering, are currently preparing to inspect the gas route in order to identify the exact location and cause of the leakage. The seabed structure will be surveyed, but it may take several days to reach a conclusion.
Before the shutdown, most of the gas from Finland was forwarded to Latvia, according to Elering. Gasgrid assured that gas supply in Finland remains secure due to the availability of the Inkoo floating LNG terminal in the south of the country. The Exemplar vessel, with a capacity of 150,900 cubic meters, can accommodate an annual regasification capacity of over five billion cubic meters of gas.
Meanwhile, Estonia is obtaining the gas it needs from Latvia, which also imports gas in liquefied form. Finland leased a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) last year to receive LNG, replacing supplies from Russia that were cut off due to sanctions imposed on Moscow for its military operation in Ukraine.
This disruption in the Balticconnector pipeline comes at a time when energy shortages are a concern in Germany, raising the importance of securing alternative sources and maintaining the energy infrastructure. Gas supply is essential for various sectors, including heating, power generation, and industrial production.
Gasgrid and Elering are working diligently to address the leak and restore the pipeline’s operations as soon as possible. However, the complex nature of the repair works and the need for a thorough inspection of the seabed structure make it a time-consuming process.
It is crucial for both Finland and Estonia to ensure the availability of gas supply during this downtime. Finland’s Inkoo terminal and Estonia’s reliance on gas imports from Latvia help mitigate the impact of the pipeline shutdown. These alternative sources of gas play a critical role in maintaining energy stability and meeting the demand from various sectors in both countries.
As the investigation and repair works continue, it is expected that the Balticconnector pipeline will remain offline for several months. The cooperation between Gasgrid and Elering will be essential in resolving the issue and ensuring the safe and efficient transportation of gas between Estonia and Finland.