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The Balticconnector pipeline that transports natural gas from Finland to Estonia has been shut down because of a suspected leak that occurred in the early hours of October 8.
The 77-km pipeline carries natural gas from Finland, where there is an LNG import terminal to Estonia. The piece of infrastructure has an annual capacity of 2.6 billion cubic meters.
“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,” Finland’s gas grid operator Gasgrid said in a statement.
“Before the closure, Balticconnector operated from Finland to Estonia. Most of the gas that arrived from Finland was forwarded to Latvia,” said Estonian gas operator Elering.
Gasgrid meanwhile said that repairs on the pipeline could take months if a puncture on the Balticconnector is confirmed.
“If it appears that the unusual pressure drop observed in the morning of October 8... is due to a leak (that) caused damage to the pipe, repair work may take at least several months depending on the nature of the damage,” the Finnish gas company said, as quoted by Polish news outlet TVP World.
Meanwhile, gas supply in Finland remained secure, Gasgrid also said, as quoted by the AP, thanks to the Inkoo floating LNG terminal in southern Finland. The Exemplar vessel has a capacity of 150,900 cubic meters and an annual regasification capacity of over 5 billion cubic meters of gas.
Estonia is getting the gas it needs from Latvia, Elering said for its part. Latvia also imports gas in LNG form.
“The failure of the Balticconnector does not cause immediate problems for the security of energy supply. The causes of the pipe damage are being investigated and further actions will depend on them,” said Finland’s climate and environment minister in a statement.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com