The natural gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia was temporarily closed on Sunday afternoon following a suspected leak, said the state-owned company and transmission system operator, Gasgrid Finland in a press release.
Gasgrid and the Estonian gas transmission system operator Elering noticed an unusual drop in pressure in the Balticconnector offshore gas pipeline between the two countries shortly before 2 am.
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 situation in the Finnish gas market has remained stable, and the supply of gas has been secured through the Inkoo LNG floating terminal.
The terminal has the capacity and the ability to deliver the gas Finland needs in the coming winter as well, even though gas consumption is typically higher in winter seasons.
Gasgrid Finland and Elering are preparing an operation to investigate the cause of the suspected leak and locate the possible leak point.
A leak point can be located in different technical methods, for example by echo sounding and videoing.
Gas transmission pipeline inspection and repair operations require careful planning and compliance with permit processes. The necessary preliminary measures have been initiated, and it is believed that actual inspection measures can be carried out soon. It will most likely take at least a few days to get to inspecting the pipe itself.
If it appears that the unusual pressure drop is due to a leak caused damage to the pipe, repair work may take at least several months depending on nature of the damage.
Gasgrid Finland has assessed the extent of gas released in the suspected leak, and will report the results to environmental authorities in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act after the results are confirmed.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment in a press release on Sunday afternoon also assured that Finland’s gas system remains stable, and for the time being gas supply is being secured primarily through the floating LNG terminal in Inkoo.
“The temporary closing of Balticconnector does not cause any immediate disruptions to the security of energy supply. Potential causes of the damage are being investigated, and next measures will depend on the findings of that investigation,” said Minister of Climate and the Environment Kai Mykkänen as the minister responsible for energy matters in Finland.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is monitoring the situation as the ministry responsible for developing Finland’s energy market and ensuring the security of energy supply. The Ministry has been in touch with Gasgrid Finland, Finland’s National Emergency Supply Agency, key partners and the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.
Balticconnector is about 80 kilometres long offshore pipeline for natural gas between Inkoo in Finland and Paldisk in Estonia.
Both countries have a compressor station and onshore gas supply routes, linking the pipeline to the transmission network in each country. The pipeline runs through the exclusive economic zones and territorial seas of Finland and Estonia. It was put into operation in December 2019.