It will take at least five months to repair the damaged section of the Balticconnector undersea gas pipeline between Estonia and Finland, meaning that it will not return to service before April next year, Finnish system operator Gasgrid said.
Based on preliminary expert assessments, it can be assumed that the planning of the repair work, the mobilization of the necessary underwater equipment and the actual repair measures, including the inspection of the repaired pipe section and commissioning, will last at least five months.
Therefore, the earliest possible commissioning date of the Balticconnector -pipeline would be at the beginning of April 2024, Gasgrid said in a press release.
On Tuesday, Finnish authorities confirmed the suspected damage to Balticconnector, which caused an unusual drop in pressure observed in the early morning of Sunday, October 8. Gasgrid Finland's previously launched offshore pipeline inspection operation continues, despite the findings, to cover other sections of the pipeline.
The investigation into the leak is being led by the Finnish Central Criminal Police which has said that the pipeline was damaged deliberately.
Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna and Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur also said at a press conference Tuesday evening that the damage is mechanical and man-made.
Gasgrid and Estonian gas transmission system operator Elering shut off the gas in the pipeline early Sunday morning.
Editor: Marko Tooming, Marcus Turovski