Repairs halt gas transit between Estonia and Latvia ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Work underway on the Balticconnector in Paldiski.
Work underway on the Balticconnector in Paldiski. Source: Eesti Gaas

The Latvian gas system operator Conexus will carry out repairs on the Vireši-Tallinn gas pipeline near Valmiera in May, halting gas transit between Latvia and Estonia for a month.

The gas system operator Conexus Baltic Grid is content with the launch of the common gas market of Estonia, Latvia, and Finland. The hitherto underutilized gas storage facility at Incukalns, the only one of its kind in the Baltic region, has more work now and gas delivered to Finland from Latvia this winter makes up a third of the country's consumption, "Aktuaalne kaamera" reports.

The outdated Vireši-Tallinn gas pipeline will not withstand heavy load without repairs. The question remains, how was Estonian Elering able to renovate its side of the pipeline before the common gas market was launched and why are Latvians only now starting work.

According to head of technical development at Conexus Baltic Grid Ivars Šcerbitskis, scheduling had to be determined not only on the basis of international relations, but also bearing in mind that the gas supply of Valmiera city should not suffer interruption. During repairs, Valmiera is supplied by gas delivered from Estonia.

Chairman of the Board of Elering Taavi Veskimägi said that Latvians were planning on carrying out three works this year. "We had lengthy discussions with Conexus to call off the works this year. A situation where the gas stream between Estonia and Finland were to be interrupted for a month just three months after the market had opened would not be good," Veskimägi said.

According to Šcerbitskis, Conexus was told by Elering in 2018 that they are planning on increasing capacity of the Vireši-Tallinn gas pipe to 54 bar on the Estonian side. "In order to technically ensure this, we drew up a restructuring plan," he noted.

Elering has found a solution so that the Estonian and Finnish gas supply would not be interrupted during the repairs. "We have never used this route for transporting gas; passing it into Balticconnector through Värska, Rakvere, Kiili and Paldiski to Finland. It's a long arch," Veskimägi said.

The common gas market of Estonia, Latvia, and Finland launched on January 1 following the completion of the Balticonnector pipeline in December.

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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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