The number of aspirants looking to supply continental Europe with gas grew again this week, with the Finnish government endorsing the 152-km bi-directional Balticconnector undersea gas pipeline project (22-km section in Finland, 80-km section on the floor of the Gulf of Finland, 50-km section in Estonia).
The capacity of pipeline will be 2 billion cubic metres per annum (71 billion cubic feet per annum). And it would cost €250 million, of which 187.5 million is financed by the European Commission. The Balticconnector is scheduled to be operational by 2020.
As the pipeline will run north-south on the map, it will necessarily cross Nordstream, which runs east-west, and thus likely to raise the geopolitical temperature between the Russian Federation and the EU.
“It will be unique – and without Brussels impossible,” stated Herkko Plit, CEO of Baltic Connector Ltd, the Finnish state-owned company that will implement and oversee the Finnish side of the project, “It is a high-level project for Finland, Estonia and the EU.”
The project will create a larger gas market in the Baltics, joining Finland to the Baltic states and leading to the manufacture of additional LNG carriers. Even Latvia’s huge underground storage facility at Inčukalns, which can balance out supply and demand in the peak winter period, will play a key role.
The integration of the Baltic market is a reflection of the overall growth in global LNG, which grew by 12 percent last year.