The undersea portion of the Balticconector pipeline has been filled with natural gas, as a result of which, for the first time in history, the two countries’ gas networks are linked and the two-way transport of gas between them made possible.
The undersea pipeline, which was installed this summer, was emptied of air with the help of nitrogen and filled with natural gas, gas system operator Elering said in a press release. Pressure in the 14,000-cubic meter pipeline was increased to the minimum working pressure of 30 bars.
The land portion of the pipeline on the Estonian side was filled with gas on October 23; it took two days to fill the 21,000-cubic meter pipeline.
Testing of the unified Estonian-Finnish-Latvian gas pipeline will take place within the next few weeks, and the Balticconnector is to be at the disposal of the market as of January 1, 2020 as previously planned.
The undersea portion of the new pipeline, which runs from Paldiski, Estonia to Inkoo, Finland is 77 kilometers long. The mainland portions are an additional 55 and 21 kilometers long in Estonia and Finland, respectively.
The Estonian-Latvian gas pipeline was renovated to allow two-way transport.
The Estonian-Finnish gas pipeline together with the strengthening of the Estonian-Latvian pipeline will cost altogether some EUR 300 million, more than EUR 200 million of which is being co-financed by the European Union.
Balticconnector will increase the security of natural gas supply in Estonia, Finland and the other Baltic states. It will also establish a joint natural gas market including Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which in turn will increase competition and ensure better prices for consumers. This will also improve integration with the EU’s single market once the Gas Interconnection Poland-Lithuania (GIPL) is complete. (ERR/Business World Magazine)