Balticconnector gas capacity to be reviewed weekly

15/12/2020 09:14 Natural Gas


The Latvian, Estonian and Finnish system operators have jointly agreed a mechanism to optimise entry capacity to Finland from the Balticonnector gas pipeline on a weekly basis.

The system operators plan to make a further 2-3 GWh/d of capacity along the line available as a temporary measure before the completion of long-planned expansion works at the Karksi measuring station near Estonia's border with Latvia.


The plan relies on maximising the use of Russian gas imports at Varska to meet Estonian consumption, while using Karksi primarily to allow for withdrawals from the Inculkans site to be shipped on to Finland through the Balticconnector.


Elering and Finnish counterpart GasGrid Finland will reassess the Balticonnector's transport capacity each week, publishing availability every Friday.


Balticconnector flows have been consistently less than half the 81.2 GWh/d design capacity since its launch on 1 January. They peaked at 34 GWh/d during several weeks in June-August and have often held lower.


This has been directly linked to the physical bottleneck caused by the delay to an increase in Karksi capacity. Its capacity is planned to be lifted to 105 GWh/d from 73.5 GWh/d at present, with the expansion initially scheduled to coincide with the commissioning of the Balticconnector.


Karksi daily flows peaked this year at 50.8GWh in January.


Elering was not immediate available for comment on when it expected the Karksi expansion to be completed.


Part of Balticconnector's capacity will again be made available through the GET Baltic exchange next year, unchanged from this year, GasGrid Finland confirmed earlier this month. This may have added to exchange liquidity given the constraints to Finnish entry capacity and limited alternate options to access space on the route. GasGrid Finland allocates capacity on a pro rata basis when nominations exceed available capacity.


The extent to which Balticconnector flows can quicken will also partly rely on Conexus' upgrade of Incukalns.


Water had encroached on the space following years of weaker demand. This reduced available capacity last year to 18.5TWh, well below technical capacity of 24.2TWh.


Conexus lifted available working gas capacity to 21.5TWh this storage year, and expects to lift it to 22.5TWh for 2021-22.


Injection and withdrawal rates have remained affected at times.

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