The two-direction natural gas pipeline of Estonia and Finland - Balticconnector is officially opened

Today, on 11 December the Estonia and Finland natural gas interconnection Balticconnector – a two-direction gas pipeline which connects the natural gas infrastructures of both countries was officially opened. Balticconnector allows opening the gas market in Finland and connects the natural gas networks of Baltic States and Finland, having significant role in the unified natural gas market which starts its operation on 1 January 2020.

The 77 km long underwater span of the pipeline from Inkoo, Finland to Paldiski, Estonia is linked with a 21 km long land pipeline in Finland and 55 km long land pipeline in Estonia thus connecting the gas transmission system of both countries. The total transmission capacity of Balticconnector is to 72 GWh a day.

Balticconnector will be part of the unified natural gas market infrastructure which starts its operation on 1 January 2020 and which unites the gas transmission system operators in Finland, Latvia and Estonia. The pipeline will improve also the safety of local gas system operation, ensures the usage of liquified natural gas and biogas.

To symbolize the successful cooperation among Estonia and Finland and European Union in development of this project, the solemn opening took place concurrently in Helsinki, Finland and Paldiski, Estonia with participation of Sauli Niinistö, president of Finland, and Kersti Kaljulaid, president of Estonia, Katri Kulmuni, Minister of Economical Affairs of Finland, Taavi Aas, Minister of Economical Affairs and Infrastructure of Estonia, Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, Deputy Director-General of Energy Directorate-General of European Commission, and project implementers.

“We are proud that we can commission timely the Balticconnector pipeline, at the same time laying foundation for a functioning trans-national gas market. I’d like to thank the professional project team in Finland and Estonia, and the attracted companies that provided undisturbed implementation of this project”, says Herkko Plit, President and CEO at “Baltic Connector Oy”.

Total costs of the project reach 250 million euro and most of them or 75% are covered with the co-funding from Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) of the European Union.

“With Balticconnector we start a new gas supply era opening the gas markets of Baltic States and Finland for new sales options. After the construction of Poland-Lithuania interconnection (GIPL) is completed in 2021, all countries will have access to the European Union gas network,” emphasizes Klaus Dieter Borchardt, Deputy Director-General of Energy Directorate-General of European Commission.

Jānis Eisaks, Head of Corporate Strategy division in the unified natural gas transmission and storage system operator JSC “Conexus Baltic Grid” (Conexus), when participating in the opening event in Helsinki, stated that one of the greatest benefits of the project is the end of isolation of Finnish market and the increased safety of natural gas supplies that has a positive impact on the whole region. “Balticconnector is a project which illustrates excellently the importance of mutual interest of neighboring countries and cooperation agreed at all levels when moving to creation of a unified European Union gas market. For Latvia, a pipeline that joins in the unified natural gas transmission infrastructure, means a possibility to increase competitiveness among suppliers at international level, increasing interest about the usage of our infrastructure, including Inčukalns Underground Gas Storage, besides, the Finnish market could be interesting for the active sellers in the unified market due to the large proportion of industrial users,” says J.Eisaks.

The project was implemented by 2 companies – “Baltic Connector Oy” in Finland and “Elering” in Estonia, but the project in off-shore was managed jointly by both companies. Apart from both companies, experts-consultants, subcontractors, decision-makers and other partners were attracted in implementation of the project.