Finland-Estonia gas pipeline to get capacity boost

Finland’s gas system and LNG terminal operator, Gasgrid, and Estonian gas system operator, Elering, have revealed plans to boost the capacity of the Balticconnector gas pipeline once repairs on the offshore section of the pipeline are complete.

The TSOs shut down the gas pipeline on October 8 due to a suspected leak and after that said that the earliest possible commissioning date of the Balticconnector would be at the beginning of April 2024.

Moreover, the National Bureau of Investigation, a unit of the Finnish Police, said in a statement on October 24 that a Hong Kong-flagged containership is believed to have caused the damage with its anchor.

The 77 kilometers bi-directional pipeline with a capacity of 2.6 bcm stretches from Paldiski, Estonia, to Inkoo, Finland where Gasgrid’s FSRU-based LNG import terminal is located.

Besides the offshore section, the pipeline includes land-based sections in Finland and Estonia.

Increased capacity from October 2024

Historically Balticconnector northbound capacity has ranged between 55-60 GWh/day in winter and 65 GWh/day in summer, according to Gasgrid.

In the direction from Finland to Estonia, a capacity of 78 GWh/day has been offered, approaching the maximum transportation capacity considering the pipeline’s diameter and design pressure, it said.

Gasgrid said enhancement of Latvia-Lithuania interconnection allows for higher gas volumes to be transported across the region.

The results of capacity calculations and transmission system operation modelling conducted collaboratively by the TSOs indicate that the technical capacity of the Balticconnector interconnection point can be increased, it said.

After the restoration of flows over the Balticconnector pipeline and once inspection and maintenance works in Estonian-Latvian system are executed, the base capacity will be increased in the Estonia-Finland direction to 70.5 GWh/day, according to Gasgrid.

“Considering the planned regional maintenance works foreseen in 2024, the increased capacity can be offered for the market starting from October 2024,” it said.

Eesti Gas, a unit of Estonian investment firm Infortar, recently said it will deliver three more LNG cargoes to Finland’s Inkoo FSRU-based terminal during the winter to help cover gas needs in Finland during the winter season while the Balticconnector pipeline is shut down.

This followed the winter capacity booking organized by Gasgrid’s LNG terminal unit for a total of six cargoes.

Finnish state-owned energy firm Gasum booked the three other winter slots for delivery to Excelerate Energy’s 150,900-cbm FSRU Exemplar, which serves Gasgrid’s import facility in Inkoo under a charter deal.

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