HELSINKI: An offshore natural gas terminal has arrived in Finland as part of the country’s efforts to replace Russian supplies after Moscow stopped deliveries, the Finnish gas grid operator said today.
Almost as long as three football fields, the Exemplar vessel, which has arrived in Inkoo port in southern Finland, will allow the country to turn liquefied natural gas (LNG) imported from other countries back into its gas form.
“The gas can come from anywhere in the world where LNG is supplied, but not from Russia,” Gasgrid CEO Olli Sipila told AFP.
Russia stopped supplying natural gas to neighbouring Finland via pipeline in May, after the Nordic country refused to pay the supplier in rubles.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Moscow told clients from “unfriendly countries” – including EU member states – to pay for gas in rubles, a way to sidestep Western financial sanctions against its central bank.
To make up for the shortfall and rid itself from the depending on Russian gas, Finland at the same time announced it had signed a 10-year lease agreement for the LNG terminal ship with US-based Excelerate Energy.
“The floating terminal vessel turned out to be the fastest and most effective solution to phase out dependency on Russian gas in Finland and to ensure the continuity of gas supplies in Finland,” grid operator Gasgrid said in a statement.
Exemplar, which is scheduled to remain in the port for the next 10 years, is a floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) that transforms LNG carried by a tanker and injects it into the pipeline network.
Gasgrid said the aim is for the terminal to supply Finnish households, industry and energy producers by mid-January.
The terminal will also enable deliveries to the Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – and to Poland through the Balticconnector pipeline, which links Finland and Estonia.
Gazprom said in May it had supplied 1.49 billion m3 of natural gas to Finland in 2021, equal to about two-thirds of the country’s gas consumption.
However, natural gas only accounted for around eight percent of Finland’s energy supply.
According to Statistics Finland, the main domestic electricity sources were nuclear, hydro and wind power.
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