Operators have refused to speculate on the source of the system failure, according to Reuters
An undersea gas pipeline connecting Finland and Estonia is temporarily out of service after gas system companies in both countries observed an unexpected drop in pressure likely caused by a leak, its operators have said.
“I do not want to speculate at all on the cause of the leak,” Janne Gronlund, a senior executive at Finnish energy firm Gasgrid, told Reuters on Sunday. He added that gas supplies remained stable, and that measures had been taken to isolate the pipeline to prevent further gas from escaping.
Gronlund said the pipeline, which is capable of flowing in either direction depending on requirements, was transporting around 30 gigawatt hours of gas each day from Finland to Estonia at the time of the fault.
Gasgrid also said gas “has been secured through the Inkoo floating LNG terminal for the time being.”
The “unusual drop in pressure” was first noticed just before 2am local time (11pm GMT) by Gasgrid engineers and operators from Estonia’s Elering, the Finnish company said on its website.
The 48 mile (77km) Balticconnector pipeline links Inkoo in Finland and the Estonian port town of Paldiski, and across the Gulf of Finland – a stretch of the Baltic Sea that extends in Russian waters towards the port of St. Petersburg. The pipeline began its commercial operations in early 2020.
Elering has indicated that any shortfalls in its supplies would be bolstered by gas from Latvia.
In September of last year, the Nord Stream pipelines transporting gas between Russia and Germany in the Baltic Sea were hit by underwater explosions which led to four leaks. The incidents, which remain unsolved, are considered by authorities to have been sabotage.
In February, American journalist Seymour Hersh cited anonymous sources from the intelligence community in a report claiming that US President Joe Biden had ordered the CIA to blow up the pipelines. He added that the operation was conducted in conjunction with the Norwegian Navy and that a NATO exercise in the region was used as cover. Washington has denied having any role in the sabotage.