Minister of Finance Annika Saarikko (Centre) says Finland is doing its utmost to be able to take delivery of the floating natural gas terminal once it arrives. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

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GASGRID Finland and Excelerate Energy have signed a 10-year lease agreement for Exemplar, a floating liquefied natural gas terminal owned by the energy company based in Texas, the US.

Minister of Finance Annika Saarikko (Centre) on Friday stated in a news conference that the floating terminal, which has a storage capacity of almost 151,000 cubic metres, will support the Finnish effort to cut off dependence on natural gas imported from Russia.

The Ministry of Employment and Economic Affairs revealed that the floating terminal is to be commissioned as soon as next winter and located in a coastal region in Southern Finland. Excelerate Energy has committed to the timetable of the project while acknowledging that it is challenging, according to Saarikko.

“We’re naturally doing whatever we can so that we’re ready to take delivery of the terminal ship once it’s here. It’ll require an unprecedentedly rapid permit and construction pace. We’re in an unusual situation, but that’s when we have to take action unusually rapidly,” she said.

Olli Sipilä, the managing director of Gasgrid Finland, said the state-owned natural gas transmission system operator continues to explore a number of possible locations for the vessel from the perspective of the project time table, situation in the gas market and security of supply.

“We’ll try to announce as quickly as possible, possibly during the course of this month, which location has been chosen as the most probable location,” he said.

The port infrastructure required by the floating terminal will be built in both Finland and Estonia. If the infrastructure is completed in Estonia before Finland, the terminal can be located temporarily in a port in Estonia.

Gasgrid has estimated that the total costs of the 10-year lease agreement will add up to roughly 460 million euros.

Finland and Estonia announced earlier this spring they have signed a letter of intent for leasing a terminal ship. The lease agreement, though, was initially signed between Gasgrid Finland and Excelerate Energy.

Riku Huttunen, the head of the energy department at the Ministry of Employment and Economic Affairs, stated in the press conference that the intention has been all along that the project can be carried out also without the participation of Estonia.

“If the Estonians want to join the project, they’re naturally welcome to do so. The costs will be split up proportionately based on our gas consumption levels. Finland consumes about four to five times as much gas as Estonia,” he told.

Finland’s Gasum on Saturday confirmed that Gazprom, the Russian majority state-owned natural gas company, has discontinued the supply of natural gas supplies over its refusal to pay for the resource in roubles. The Finnish importer of natural gas has taken its supply contract to arbitration, arguing that its contract partner is violating the contract terms with its demands for rouble-denominated payments.

The Russian company cut off gas deliveries to Finland at 7am on Saturday, 21 May 2022.

The Ministry of Employment and the Economy on Friday stressed that Finland has prepared for the halting of natural gas imports from Russia. Some companies, it said, may have to suspend their operations due to the suspension of gas deliveries, opening the door for local and regional effects such as furloughs and lay-offs.

Jukka Leskelä, the chief executive of Finnish Energy, has assured that the suspension of Russian gas deliveries is not a major issue for the energy system in Finland.

Reuters on Thursday reported that half of Gazprom’s 54 clients have opened a rouble-denominated account in order to continue buying gas from Russia.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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