The commissioning of the Balticconnector gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia has been celebrated, with ceremonies held simultaneously in Helsinki and Paldiski.
The event was attended by guests of honour Sauli Niinistö, president of the Republic of Finland, Kersti Kaljulaid Estonia's president, Mika Lintilä, Minister of Economic Affairs, and Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, deputy director-general, DG Energy at the European Commission.
Construction work on the Balticconnector project was completed one month ahead of schedule. With commissioning now complete, the Finnish gas market can now be opened as early as 1 January 2020.
The completed gas pipeline enables the connection of the Finnish and Estonian gas markets and integrates the countries within the European Union’s (EU) common energy market. The pipeline will improve the reliability of regional gas supply, as well as the use of LNG and biogas.
“The Balticconnector gas pipeline and the opening of the gas market for competition has been a demanding project, which has now been completed efficiently and on schedule,” said Lintilä. “The financial support from the EU has enabled a physical integration of our gas infrastructure with the Baltics offering us additional alternatives for gas supplies. We are building a regional gas market which serves as an example for the rest of the Europe.”
The project cost €250 million, of which 75% was provided through investment aid from the Connecting Europe Facility, a financial instrument of the EU’s energy sector.
"With the Balticconnector, we are entering a new era of gas supply, opening up the Baltic and Finnish gas markets for new trade opportunities,” added Borchardt. “This is an important first step, and when the GIPL gas pipeline between Poland and Lithuania is completed in 2021, all countries will have access to the EU gas network.”
Baltic Connector has been responsible for the Finish section of the project. The submarine section of the pipeline between Estonia and Finland is 77km in length, reaching land in Finland in Inkoo, where the 21km underground pipeline connects to Finland’s national transmission network.
The gas pipeline has a transmission capacity of 7.2 million cubic metres of gas per day.
"It is great that we are able to launch the pipeline on schedule,” concluded Herkko Plit, president and CEO of Baltic Connector. “At the same time, we have prepared the ground for functioning gas markets. I would like to thank the skilled personnel in Finland and in Estonia, as well as all contractors who have achieved this success through seamless cooperation.”
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