Finland’s Gasgrid says Balticconnector gas pipeline shut down due to suspected leak

Finland’s gas system and LNG terminal operator Gasgrid and Estonian gas system operator Elering have shut down the Balticconnector offshore gas pipeline due to a suspected leak.

The 77 kilometers offshore 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 onshore section, the pipeline includes land-based sections in Finland and Estonia.

On October 8, Gasgrid and Elering noticed an “unusual drop in pressure” in the offshore gas pipeline between the two countries shortly before 2 am, according to a statement by Gasgrid.

“Based on observations, it was suspected that the offshore pipeline between Finland and Estonia was leaking. The valves in the offshore pipeline are now closed and the leak is thus stopped,” the firm said.

Gasgrid said it will most likely take at least a few days to inspect the pipeline.

“If it appears that the unusual pressure drop observed in the morning of October 8 in the Balticconnector pipeline is due to a leak caused damage to the pipe, repair work may take at least several months depending on nature of the damage,” it said.

Gasgrid said it is currently investigating the matter in cooperation with Elering.

Elering said in a separate statement that the accident does not affect the gas supply to Estonian consumers.

After the shutdown of Balticconnector, gas reaches Estonian consumers from Latvia, it said.

“Before the closure, Balticconnector operated from Finland to Estonia. Most of the gas that arrived from Finland was forwarded to Latvia,” Elering said.

Inkoo FSRU

Gagrid said that state of the Finnish gas system is “stable”.

The firm said that supply of gas “has been secured through the Inkoo floating LNG terminal for the time being.”

Excelerate Energy’s 150,900-cbm FSRU Exemplar, which serves the Inkoo terminal, has a regasification capacity of more than 5 bcm per year.

In addition to supplying regasified LNG to Finland, the LNG terminal’s biggest customer is Estonia’s Eesti Gaas.

Eesti Gaas received the first LNG cargo via the FSRU Exemplar in April from the US.

It previously said that it plans to receive 11 LNG cargoes via the Inkoo FSRU this year. Eesti Gaas recently received the tenth planned cargo.

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