Gazprom has lost a third of its Finnish gas market share after the Balticconnector pipeline began operating to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) via the Baltic States, Reuters reported.
The pipeline links Finland and Estonia and can also send gas to the Baltics. Elering data shows that about a total of 5.8 terawatt-hours (TWh) of gas was exported to Finland in the first nine months of 2020 through the pipeline. Meanwhile, Russian gas exports to Finland over the same period dropped by 35% to 11.4 TWh from 17.6 TWh over the same period in 2019. Ignitis, a Lithuanian gas trader, supplied 2.23 TWh to Finland over the same period and expects to keep its share in Finland in 2021.
The pipeline’s capacity has been limited to about 11 TWh/year instead of is original 25 TWh/year due to delays in upgrading compressor stations.
Haroldas Nauseda, CEO of Lithuanian gas trader Ignitis, remarked that in 2019, gas in Finland is about EUR 7 per megawatt-hour (Mwh) more than in Lithuania, a difference of EUR 150 million across the year. He added that in colder winter months, the Balticconnector pipeline will not be able to satisfy demand and gas prices in Finland go up.
The competition to Gazprom is only getting heated, as a new pipeline linking Lithuanian and Polish gas grids will connect the Baltic and Finnish gas markets to mainland Europe by the end of 2021.