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Finland Hopeful New LNG Terminal Will Help Wean Country Off Russian Gas Imports

© AP Photo / Dita AlangkaraLNG tanker Al Hamra of Iran (File)
LNG tanker Al Hamra of Iran (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.03.2022
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While only 6 percent of Finland's total energy consumption is covered by gas, it is nevertheless a key part of the total mix, and is avidly consumed by Finnish industry. Since the start of Russia's military operation in Ukraine, Finland has doubled down on its efforts to upend its dependence on Russian energy imports.
Finland is opening a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the Baltic Sea port of Hamina, in an attempt to reduce reliance on imports of gas from Russia.
The first ships loaded with LNG will arrive carrying gas in the summer, while the terminal is expected to be fully operational in October.
“Gas reserves are being found at a rapid pace all over the world and are also being liquefied there”, Hamina Energy CEO Markku Tommiska told national broadcaster Yle.
While gas merely accounts for some 6 percent of Finland's total energy consumption, it is a key part of the total mix, being avidly consumed by the Finnish industry.
Much of Finland's gas comes from Russia. The majority of natural gas used in Finland arrives via a pipeline from Russia that connects to the Finnish distribution network in Imatra.
About a third of Finland's gas is supplied through the Balticconnector gas pipeline between the Finnish town of Inkoo and the Estonian town of Paldiski. The gas comes from the Klaipėda LNG terminal in Lithuania.
The Hamina LNG terminal may within a few years supply another third of the gas consumed in Finland. According to Tommiska, it is possible to double the capacity every year in the coming years.
Earlier this week, Finance Minister Annika Saarikko proclaimed that Finland must work to end its dependence on Russian fossil fuels, although she admitted that it won't happen overnight.
Earlier in March, Prime Minister Sanna Marin also said Finland intends to drop its energy dependence on Russia “as soon as possible”, citing a “shift in views” across Europe following Russia's special operation in Ukraine. Among others, she recalled Germany's decision not to move forward with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. For its part, Finland has frozen plans to allow the Fennovoima consortium to build a nuclear power plant in partnership with Russia's Rosatom.
A number of ports across Europe are building LNG terminals or expanding their existing capacity in a bid to reduce reliance on Russian gas. LNG is seen as a more more efficient alternative for long haul transportation of natural gas in cases where pipelines are not an option. Natural gas is liquefied by cooling, a process that reduces its volume some 600 times, sufficiently easing transportation. As of now, Australia, Qatar and the US are the largest LNG exporters.
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