Estonia-Finland undersea gas pipeline works starts Monday

The Lorelay, the ship laying down the Balticonnector pipeline (pictured here in Rotterdam), is already on site.
The Lorelay, the ship laying down the Balticonnector pipeline (pictured here in Rotterdam), is already on site. Source: Kees Torn/Wikimedia Commons

Offshore pipeline installation of Balticconnector, a gas pipe linking Estonia and Finland under the Baltic Sea, begins on Monday, BNS reports, and is likely to be finished in July. Around two thirds of the cost is being provided by the E.U..

"As of today, I can give my assurance that the goal Elering set up when acquiring the Estonian gas transmission network, aimed at launching the Finnish-Baltic gas market in 2020, is to be met," said Taavi Veskimägi, CEO at Elering, the transmission company involved in both electricity and gas distribution.

"This brings a greater security of supply, a more effective market and presumably a better price for consumers," Veskimägi continued in a press release.

In 2018, all preparatory offshore works were completed, and the seabed is now ready for the pipeline to be installed.

The thousands of pipeline sections, which weigh a total 36,000 tonnes, arrived in Paldiski having been shipped from Greece, BNS reports, and with the Lorelay, a large pipe-laying ship which sails under the Maltese flag, in situ at the Finnish end of the connection, the work can start.

The rate of progress is estimated at 2-3 km per day, from the Finnish island of Skammo, with pipe post-lay intervention work beginning next month in parallel with the pipe-laying. The latter should be finished some time in July, and will be followed by pressure testing and drying work, before it can be connected to mainland pipelines in both countries.

Balticonnector Statistics

  • 77 km of pipeline to pass under the Baltic, with a further 55 km pipeline above ground in Estonia, plus 21 km in Finland.
  • Total cost of project (including connection to Latvia): 300 million euros; E.U. providing 200 million of this.
  • Initial capacity of 2.5 million cubic meters of natural gas per 24 hours will rise to 7.2 million cubic meters later on.
  • Onshore pipeline work in Estonia is nearly finished, with 92 percent of welding work and just under that for insulation work completed. Work on compressor stations at Paldiski and Puiatu has started.
  • Onshore Finnish work progressing as planned, to be completed in August, including the Inkoo compressor station. Onshore section in Finland ready for commercial operation in December.
  • Pipeline scheduled to be fully ready in early 2020.
  • Estonian gas supplier Eesti Gaas to enter Finnish market as Elenger in 2020.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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