Analysis: Gas reserves in Estonia enough to meet winter consumption levels

Natural gas warning sign.
Natural gas warning sign. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Going on the month-by-month breakdown, covering gas consumption in all three Baltic States plus Finland through the coming winter and until April is viable, according to the analysis conducted on the region's supply security.

Current forecasts state that in March, when reserves are usually at their lowest level in the region, given it is the end of winter, the subterranean Inculkans gas storage facility in Latvia will still have 9 TWh of gas in reserve.

For context, the total consumption of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland, in addition to Polish gas imports, stands at is 49.5 TWh from June this year to May 2023, according to the forecast. 

By state the breakdown would be: Lithuania 16 TWh, Finland 12 TWh, Latvia 10 TWh and Estonia 3.5 TWh, while the remaining 8 TWh passes from Lithuania to Poland.

According to the basic scenario, 67 TWh of natural gas will arrive in the Finland-Baltic region from June to next May, via various supply channels. 

The Klaipeda LNG terminal comprises 38 TWh, Inculkans 13 TWh, the under-construction LNG terminal in Finland 15 TWh, plus the Hamina LNG terminal has a capacity of 1 TWh.

According to information from the Finnish grid distributor Gasgrid, the new LNG terminal in Finland can supply up to 105 GWh of gas per day. The same delivery capacity is also available at the Klaipeda terminal in Lithuania. Inculkans has a capacity of 124 to 272 GWh and the LNG terminal under construction in Finland has a capacity of up to 140 GWh per day.

In Estonia, the state reserves center (EVK) has acquired 650 GWh of national gas reserves for the upcoming winter , while Elering has acquired approximately 140 GWh of gas for protected, i.e. domestic, consumers. This supply would last for two winter months, and would also support Estonian gas retailers if they themselves have no more gas to sell to consumers, Taavi Veskimägi, chairman of the board at Elering, says.

The security of supply analysis finds that the region's peak consumption has significantly decreased and can be covered by LNG terminals and gas storage.

In conclusion, the analysis states that gas consumption is essentially covered by existing resources, but risks have increased and the situation may change if several risks materialize at the same time.

One other risk is possible desynchronization of the Baltic electricity grid on the part of Russia, but Estonia and the region is prepared for that contingency, while gas consumption at power stations which use natural gas are included in the above consumption forecasts.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming

Source: Elering (Estonia), Gasgrid (Finland), Latvijas Gāze (Latvia), Amber Grid (Lithuania)

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