Finland prepares to restrict access to a port area hosting one of its two floating LNG import terminals after an offshore natural gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia was shut down this weekend following a leak suspected to be caused by sabotage.
The authorities are preparing a decree to restrict access to the area around the Inkoo LNG floating terminal, the Interior Ministry said on Friday, days after Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto said that the damage to the Balticconnector gas pipeline is likely to have been caused by “external activity.”
“Based on information from the Finnish Border Guard, Gasgrid Finland has given its expert assessment according to which the damage was not caused by the normal gas transmission process,” the Finnish government said on Tuesday.
Finland now plans to include the area around the Inkoo LNG floating terminal to the list of around 230 facilities of strategic importance in the country where access, travel, and stay are restricted.
After the Balticconnector gas pipeline was shut down due to the leak, Finland’s gas grid operator said that “the state of the Finnish gas system is stable, and the supply of gas is secured via Inkoo LNG floating terminal.”
Finland set up the Inkoo LNG floating terminal under a deal for a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) vessel between Gasgrid Finland Oy and U.S. firm Excelerate Energy in May 2022, days after Russia cut off pipeline gas supply to Finland.
The suspected “external activity” on the Finland-Estonia pipeline, a year after the sabotage on Nord Stream, has prompted Finland and its Nordic neighbors to increased security measures and patrols at critical energy infrastructure.
In Norway, for example, police have increased security measures and patrols at and around oil and gas infrastructure in west Norway, which is home to or close to many oil and gas installations.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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