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Finland, regasification vessel for the winter

Gazprom turns off taps, and Helsinki takes remedial action

30 May, 16:35
(ANSA) - ROME, MAY 30 - Russia has closed the gas taps to Finland. Officially because Helsinki has refused to pay supplier Gazprom in rubles, as demanded by Moscow. Still, it is hard not to think that it is also a form of retaliation for the decision of the Finnish authorities to join Nato.

Following up on demand for payments in rubles made to the so-called 'hostile countries,' Russia had already cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria. So the move toward Finland is not a surprise. However, it seems significant that the supply is being cut off in the very same week that Helsinki submitted its application for membership in the Atlantic, along with Sweden.

At any rate, the Finnish government said it is ready to cope with the situation, at least for the entire summer, and at the same time determined to refer to various alternative sources before the arrival of the long Nordic winter. In 2021, according to Gazprom data, Finland had purchased 1.49 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia, accounting for about two-thirds of the country's consumption. That amount accounts for between 6 and 8 percent of Finland's energy.

The Finnish energy company Gasum has stated that it would compensate for the shortage through the BalticConnector, connecting Finland to Estonia. Furthermore, it has assured that the fuel stations will operate normally. According to the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, the pipeline will convey to Finland gas obtained from the large storage facility at Incukalns in Latvia and from the floating one in Klaipeda, in Lithuania.

However, in winter, the capacity of the Baltic Connector could be an issue. According to Mika Wiljanen, president and CEO of Gasum, gas use during the winter season has reached up to about three times the pipeline's capacity. Therefore, the actual trump card seems to be the contract that the Helsinki government announced it had signed with Excelerate Energy, based in the United States, for the chartering ten-year lease of an LNG terminal vessel to receive and store liquefied natural gas. It will be moored in the Gulf of Finland and should be ready to operate by next winter. "It will play an important role in securing the supply of gas for Finnish industry," said Economy Minister Mika Lintila, adding that the necessary port facilities will be built along the coasts of Finland and Estonia. (ANSA).

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