Finland’s first FSRU is ready as Europe builds alternative LNG sources | Popgen Tech
Finland is preparing for the arrival of its first FSRU in a project organized by Finnish state-owned gas transmission system operator Gasgrid Finland. The vessel’s arrival further expands Finland’s LNG import operations serving the Baltic region, and is also part of the larger effort across Europe to replace Russian-supplied gas.
Gasgrid Finland reports that construction work in the port of Inkoo on the Gulf of Finland west of Helsinki has been completed for the floating liquefied natural gas terminal. Work began in August 2022 and the contract included the pier and mooring structures and systems required by the floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), as well as the construction of a mile of gas pipeline. The goal was to have the FSRU in place and operating before the onset of the worst part of winter.
“Completion of the port structures is a very important milestone in the entire LNG floating terminal project,” says Olli Sipilä, Gasgrid Finland’s CEO. “Everything is now in place for Example to anchor safely in the deep harbor in Inkoo in December and connect to Gasgrid’s gas transmission network.”
Gasgrid will use the Example, an 83,000 dwt FSRU operated by Texas-based Excelerate Energy. The vessel, which has a capacity of 150,900 cbm gas, was loaded with gas originating in Egypt. The vessel left the anchorage at Gibraltar on 19 December. Depending on weather conditions, his arrival in Finland is between 25 and 28 December.
The 955 feet long Example will be attached to steel bolts attached to dolphins anchored to the rock by a total of more than 112 piles more than 30 meters long. Gasgrid reports that the structural strengths and tensile strengths are many times those used for normal shipping operations.
Once in place, the first cargo of LNG will be used both to test the terminal and for security of supply needs. The company anticipates that commercial operations will begin by mid-January. When fully loaded, the LNG floating terminal vessel Example holds around 68,000 tons of LNG, which will be imported into Finland’s distribution network and can also be delivered to the Baltic states and even to Poland through the Balticconnector pipeline.
In October, Finland also commissioned its new Hamina LNG terminal in eastern Finland near the Russian border. Titan completed the first delivery to that terminal at the end of October, unloading a supply of natural gas purchased by Estonia’s energy company Alexela, aboard the Optimus, a 6,200 cbm capacity LNG bunker vessel, supplying LNG from the terminal in Zeebrugge, Belgium. UK-based Avenir then made its first LNG delivery to the terminal in November aboard the Avenir AspirationA 4,500 dwt LNG tanker registered in Malta, and a second tanker the Avenir Ascension, another 4,500 dwt LNG carrier also with a capacity of 7,500 cbm, departed Spain on November 18 with the next shipment of LNG to the Hamina terminal. The terminal has a storage capacity of 30,000 cubic meters and regasification and injection services into the Finnish gas transmission network with a daily capacity of 4,800 MWh. It also has an interconnection with Estonia.
Finland’s FSRU follows the arrival of the first two of six units scheduled to serve Germany. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other senior government officials opened the new terminal in Wilhelmshaven on 17 December while Deutsche ReGas also positioned its first FSRU in the eastern port of Lubmin.
Both Finland and Germany highlight the rapid speed at which they have been able to develop their FSRU operations. Esa Hallivuori, head of the LNG floating terminal project at Gasgrid Finland noted the demanding contracting work on port structures and the connecting pipeline and said that an average of 100 construction and design staff worked on the project. Chancellor Scholz similarly praised at the opening in Wilhelmshaven how quickly the facility was built and highlighted the partnerships, including Höegh LNG which owns the FSRU and Uniper which will operate the terminal. Both projects are designed to support the long-term energy needs of their countries.