Europe helps fund non-Russia gas line for Finland

Aug 10, 2016 12:00 AM

The European Commission said it was allocating funding to end Finland's energy isolation, one day after new life emerged for a Russian pipeline for Europe.

The commission said it allocated roughly $210 million to support the construction of the first-ever natural gas pipeline linking Finland to Estonia, dubbed the Baltic-connector. European Energy Minister Arias Canete said the project would end Finland's energy isolation by giving it a new option over Russia.

"Diversifying energy sources and routes, and uniting the energy markets, is at the heart of the Energy Union," he said in a statement. "This is key to ensuring secure, affordable and sustainable energy for all EU citizens."

With no large-scale commercial natural gas production of its own, the country relies entirely on Russia for its gas needs. The Finnish government aims to diversify its own energy sector with small-scale liquefied natural gas terminals to meet maritime and domestic demand for natural gas.

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Turkish counterpart to repair diplomatic ties strained in part by military issues related to Syria. During his meeting Tuesday, the Russian president said the Turkish Stream gas pipeline was among the major joint projects reviewed with the government in Ankara.

Russian energy company Gazprom proposed the so-called Turkish Stream gas pipeline as an alternative to a broader South Stream pipeline network meant to feed European markets. Turkish Stream was suspended amid simmering acrimony between the two countries. South Stream was abandoned because of price and energy security concerns expressed by European partners.

The Finnish gas pipeline will stretch about 100 miles and is expected to be in service by late 2019.

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