A suspected leak was detected overnight in an undersea pipeline connecting the Finnish and Estonian grids, which its operators closed while investigating the incident.
(Bloomberg) — A suspected leak was detected overnight in an undersea pipeline connecting the Finnish and Estonian grids, which its operators closed while investigating the incident.
Just before 2 a.m. local time on Sunday, the Finnish and Estonian gas transmission system operators noticed “an unusual drop in pressure in the offshore gas pipeline between the two countries,” Gasgrid Finland Oy said in a statement on its website.
While the current incident appears contained for now, the potential risks will be reminiscent of blasts on the undersea Nord Stream gas pipeline just over a year ago. That pipeline was ruptured in four places by what Sweden’s investigation later found to have been detonations. Authorities haven’t yet determined who was behind those explosions.
Read More: Nord Stream Mystery Brings Infrastructure Fears to Surface
The valves in the 77-kilometer (48-mile) Balticconnector offshore pipeline are now closed, Gasgrid Finland said, adding that it’s currently investigating the matter in cooperation with Estonia’s Elering AS.
“We won’t speculate on the reasons,” Gasgrid Finland’s Chief Executive Officer Olli Sipila said. “We suspect there is a leak in the pipeline and we are focusing on investigating whether there is a leak and then, if there is one, what is causing it.”
There’s no estimate for the conclusion of the investigation, or when the pipeline would be back in operation, Sipila said, adding that the Finnish government had been notified. The pipeline was taken into use just over three years ago.
No blasts were reported overnight in the Gulf of Finland, according to automated event reports by the Helsinki University Institute of Seismology.
Gas is not central to Finland’s energy supply, accounting for just 3.5% of the Nordic country’s energy mix in the first half of this year.
Finland’s gas system is stable and supply is secured through the Inkoo floating LNG terminal, according to Gasgrid. Estonian users are supplied from Latvia, Elering said in a separate statement.
Last winter, Finland brought in a floating liquefied natural gas terminal, rented from Excelerate Energy Inc., to ensure gas supplies in the event that the Balticconnector pipeline goes out of service. The vessel’s systems were connected to Finland’s gas grid in January. It takes cargoes of LNG delivered by ships and converts the LNG back into a gaseous state, pushing it into the country’s gas network.
Russia cut off gas supply to Finland in May 2022, about a week after the Nordic country said it would apply for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in response to the war Russia started in Ukraine. Finland had also refused to pay for gas in rubles, and later decided to stop purchasing Russian fuel altogether. Finland has now joined the defense alliance.
–With assistance from Ott Tammik.
(Updates with CEO comments from fifth paragraph, seismological data in seventh.)
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.