Finland is using imports of Russian liquefied natural gas to help it diversify from Russian gas pipeline supplies and prepare for the upcoming winter period, according to Greenpeace Norden, the Finnish affiliate of the global environmental campaign group.
Over the past weekend, Greenpeace activists staged a protest at Finland’s Baltic port of Tornio in an attempt to focus the public’s attention on shipments from Russia’s Vysotsk LNG project — a joint venture between Russia’s largest independent gas producer Novatek and the country’s leading financial institution, Gazprombank.
Greenpeace said protesters climbed the loading arms and paddlers at the Tornio regasification terminal in an attempt to prevent the LNG carrier Coral Energice from mooring.
The unloading of the vessel’s cargo, ordered by Finnish gas importer Gasum, was delayed for 24 hours, Greenpeace climate and energy expert Olli Tiainen told Upstream.
Greenpeace Norden said in a statement: “It is incomprehensible that the government led by [Prime Minister] Sanna Marin still allows the importation of fossil fuels that finance the war machine, even though Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine has been going on for more than half a year.
“Finland must immediately ban the import of Russian fossil fuels and direct Gasum to stop importing gas from Russia.”
Tiainen said Gasum has been importing an average of two cargoes per month from Vysotsk LNG, transported in Finland-built carriers, each usually capable of transporting up to 7000 tonnes of LNG.
A Gasum spokesperson said the LNG cargoes are being delivered to Finland under a long-term contract with Russia’s Gazprom Export.
A take-or-pay clause in this contract obliges Gasum to source a certain amount of LNG from Russia each year.
“Should we decide not to source this amount, we are still obliged to pay for the gas. In addition, we would be obliged to source LNG from elsewhere to ensure agreed deliveries to our customers,” the spokesperson said.
Second Russian LNG cargo
According to Finnish national broadcaster Yle, another LNG carrier, Coral Energy, arrived to Finland this weekend from Vysotsk.
Coral Energy will load LNG into the Hamina LNG facility, which is in the process of being commissioned, a Gasum spokesperson was quoted as saying by Yle.
“The cooling operation of the [storage] tank will now begin at the Hamina terminal. The tank must be cooled to minus-162 degrees Celsius. This gas is intended for that,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.
The first cargo is understood to be able to fill about half the capacity of the Hamina facility’s 30,000 cubic metre storage facility.
According to Gasum, the cargo has been supplied under its contract with operator Hamina LNG. However, the company added that it has no immediate plans to deliver more LNG cargoes to the terminal not from the spot market.
Gasum said earlier that the Hamina terminal will be directly linked to the country’s pipeline network to help replace reduced supplies of Russian pipeline gas.
Russian gas giant Gazprom halted gas deliveries to Finland in May, arguing that the country refused to accept a change in payment terms for delivered gas after demanding that customers open dedicated accounts with Gazprombank in Moscow and convert their euro and US dollar payments into rubles.
Greenpeace on standby
Tiainen said Greenpeace will also monitor whether a larger Russian LNG cargo may be secured from the spot market to commission an upcoming regasification project being built jointly by Finland and Estonia.
The joint Finland-Estonia LNG project calls for the construction of two receiving terminals and storage facilities at the ports of Paldiski in Estonia and Inkoo in Finland, with the chartered Exemplar floating storage and regisification vessel alternately discharging LNG between the two, depending on demand.
Finland’s state-owned gas pipeline operator Gasgrid entered into a 10-year agreement in May with Excelerate Energy to charter the Exemplar FSRU, which has a storage capacity of 150,900 cubic metres.
The FSRU started sailing to Estonia from Argentina in August and is currently located in the Atlantic off the coast of northwest Africa, according to marine traffic websites.