Michal: Baltic Connector means open gas market in Estonia

Jul 18, 2016 12:00 AM

The decision of the European Union to support the construction of the Baltic Connector gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia with €187.5m was an important step towards an open gas market in Estonia, Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Kristen Michal (Reform) said on Friday.

Michal said that when the current government entered office, the pipeline had seemed a “distant dream”, but that close collaboration with partners and officials both in Finland and in Brussels had made it possible.

The union’s member states agreed on Friday to the European Commission’s proposal to invest €263m in key European energy infrastructure projects, including €187.5m for the Baltic Connector pipeline. The project will build the first gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia.

“Once completed, the interconnector will end Finland’s dependence on a single gas supplier, strengthening supply security in the Eastern Baltic Sea region,” the Commission said in a press release.

The application for EU funding in the amount of 75% of the project’s total cost of €250m by the Estonian network operator Elering and the Finnish state-owned Baltic Connector was granted in full.

The decision will also work to enhance the Estonian-Latvian interconnection, which will be supported with €18.6m. The enhancement of the Estonia-Latvia interconnection will enable better access to storage resources in Latvia, ensure a more diverse natural gas transmission network in the Baltic Sea region, and otherwise contribute to the Baltic Connector project, the European Commission stated.

The new pipeline has been a European project of common interest since 2013. It will consist of three sections, namely 22 km of on-shore pipeline in Finland, an offshore section of 81 km, and an Estonian on-shore section of 47 km. The capacity of the pipeline is planned at 7.2 million cubic meters per day. The pipeline is expected to become operational in 2019.

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