Elering: Estonia's gas supply unaffected by pipeline explosion in Lithuania

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A gas pipeline exploded in northern Lithuanian on January 13, 2023.
A gas pipeline exploded in northern Lithuanian on January 13, 2023. Source: LRT

Estonia's gas supply will not be affected by a pipeline explosion in northern Lithuania on Friday, said Taavi Veskimägi, CEO of Elering, the transmission system operator for electricity and natural gas.

Veskimägi told ERR: "Estonia's security of supply has not been threatened in any way by this explosion. Once the fire has been extinguished, the gas flow in the second pipeline will be restored and, with this one pipeline, the gas flow will also be largely sufficient to meet the needs of the market."

The incident is unlikely to have a significant impact on the region's gas market as there is a second parallel pipeline that can be used, he said.

As well as gas from Lithuania, Estonia's gas is also stored at Incukalns in Latvia.

"There is certainly no fear or concern that the security of supply of gas to Estonia would somehow be threatened by the accident as a result of all these different sources combined," he said.

There are currently 11 terawatt-hours of gas at Incukalns which is approximately three times Estonia's annual consumption.

Elering CEO Taavi Veskimägi. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

"This is enough to cover the January-March gas consumption of Estonia, Latvia and Finland, so the gas is already there," the CEO said.

Veskimägi said one working pipeline is enough to supply Latvia and Estonia from Lithuania. The damaged pipe will likely be repaired in the coming days.

Finland's new LNG terminal also adds another gas supply channel to Estonia.

The explosion occurred in the Amber Grid gas main pipeline in the village of Pasvalio Vienkiemiai, in the District of Pasvalys, on Friday evening, Lithuania's public broadcaster LRT reported.

The pipeline supplies gas to the northern part of Lithuania and delivers gas to Latvia.

No casualties have been reported but a nearby village with approximately 250 residents is being evacuated.

Amber Grid: No reason to suspect third-party involvement

A statement released by Amber Grid said the explosion took place in an area where there are two parallel pipelines.

"[I]nitial data indicate that the explosion occurred in one of them. The other pipeline was not damaged. The gas supply through the damaged pipeline was immediately interrupted, but the Pasvalys district consumers are already being supplied with gas through the adjacent pipeline," the company said.

Amber Grid CEO Nemunas Biknius said the damaged pipeline should be restored within a few days.

There is no reason to suspect third-party involvement.

"Law enforcement authorities and Amber Grid specialists are currently investigating the possible causes of the incident, and so far we have no information about any intentional damage to the pipeline infrastructure caused by third parties," he said in a statement.


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Editor: Helen Wright, Merili Nael, Kai Vare, Astrid Kannel

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