After the damage! They will increase the capacity of the Balticconnector gas pipeline


Inspenet, December 2, 2023.

A plan to expand the transport capacity of the Balticconnector gas pipeline , connecting Finland and Estonia, has been approved after repairs to the underwater segment are completed and the link between the two countries is restored.

Finnish gas transmission operator Gasgrid gave the green light to the expansion, after Balticconnector was taken out of service in October due to a sudden drop in pressure, attributed to damage caused by a loose anchor.

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What will be the new capacity of the Balticconnector?

Restoration is scheduled for the second quarter of 2024 and following the completion of inspections and maintenance on the onshore gas pipeline networks in Estonia and Latvia, Balticconnector’s base capacity for transporting gas from Estonia to Finland will increase to approximately 6.3 million m 3 per day.

According to Gasgrid, an increase of between 8% and 28% in the capacity of the Balticconnector is planned compared to the previous summer and winter capacity. The increased capacity will be available to gas transporters from October next year, Gasgrid said.

In the opposite direction, from Finland to Estonia, a capacity of approximately 6.7 million cubic meters per day will be offered, which is almost the maximum capacity of the system considering the diameter of the pipeline and its design pressure, according to the operator. Gasgrid attributes the Balticconnector’s capacity increase to improvements to the Latvia-Lithuania interconnector, which now allows greater volumes of gas to be transported across the Baltic region.

In Lithuania, the company Klaipedos Nafta, which manages a floating liquefied natural gas terminal in Klaipeda, reported that transporters secured the additional 860 million m 3 of annual capacity in the recent auction for the period between 2025 and 2032. The original capacity of the terminal was approximately 2.3 billion m 3 per year. In this auction, Lithuania’s Achema, Estonia’s Eesti Gaas and Norway’s Equinor acquired equal shares of the additional capacity, Klaipedos Nafta said. During the auction process, market participants expressed the need to reserve around 1.9 billion cubic meters per year of the capacity of the Klaipeda LNG terminal, a figure that exceeded the nominal capacity of the facility.

The results show the great interest of market participants in the natural gas market of our region, its liquidity and the proper development of the infrastructure network ,” said Klaipedos Nafta commercial director Mindaugas Navikas.

The situation at the Balticconnector also resulted in a full booking of liquefied natural gas (LNG) import capacity at the Finnish LNG terminal at the Baltic port of Inkoo for this winter, Gasgrid reported. Despite this, the Klaipeda LNG Terminal Capacity Agreement (NAFTA) generated lower than expected interest from market participants in terms of additional capacity beyond 2033.

As a result, it has ” postponed the terminal capacity development project for the future and will offer LNG capacity to the market at a later stage ,” Klaipedos Nafta said.

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