Finland state

Finland needs weeks or months rather than years to sever energy ties with Russia

PRIME MINISTER Sanna Marin (SDP) said on Sunday that Finland’s reliance on Russia for energy would end soon, but refrained from providing a specific timetable for the transition.

“I would say soon – we’re talking weeks or months rather than years when it comes to Finland,” she said during his regular interview on YLE Radio Suomi. “I won’t shed light on the detailed schedules.”

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, she added, is one of the few ministries working to ensure that the transition can be achieved quickly.

While the European Union has used unprecedented sanctions to compel Russia to end its war of aggression in Ukraine, the sanctions have only targeted the country’s most important source of income – energy – than last week, when the bloc of 27 countries announced a ban on the purchase, import and transfer of coal originating in or exported from Russia.

The ban is due to come into effect no later than August.

Marin said already a month ago that it is untenable for member states to continue financing the war by buying energy from Russia. Nevertheless, energy imports continued both to the EU and to Finland.

Joseph BorellHigh Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, lamented last week that the bloc paid 35 billion euros for energy supplies to Russia while pledging one billion euros in military aid to Ukraine.

Sailor on Sunday declared at YLE that Finland is better positioned than many other Member States, especially with regard to electricity: the Nordic countries have a common electricity market and grid connections exist between Finland and Sweden and Estonia.

YLE on Monday asked Finnish Energy how Russian energy imports could be halted if the required political decision is made quickly.

Share of fuels in total energy consumption in Finland in 2020

  • Wood fuels: 28%
  • Fossil oil: 21%
  • Nuclear: 19%
  • Wind and hydraulic: 6%
  • Natural gas: 6%
  • Coal: 6%
  • Net electricity imports: 4%
  • Peat: 3%
  • Other: 7%

Source: Statistics Finland

Russia accounted for 95% of Finnish coal imports, 88% of pellet imports, 86% of crude oil imports, 67% of natural gas imports, 36% of other energy wood imports and 14% of electricity imports in 2020, according to the Finnish public broadcasting company.

Crude oil is the most economically important category of energy imports, totaling around €2.7 billion in 2020.

Oil is transformed into gasoline and diesel at the Neste refinery in Porvoo, southern Finland. The Finnish oil company has already announced its intention to buy crude oil from other sources, although oil shipments have continued to arrive from Russia.

Finland does not depend on electricity imports from Russia, according to Fingrid, the Finnish electricity grid operator. “Fingrid has prepared for an abrupt disruption of electricity trade with Russia. The security of electricity supply would not be threatened, even if the electricity trade with Russia ends,” he said in a newsletter published on April 5.

Jari Kostamadirector of energy production at Finnish Energy, reminded YLE than OL3, the reactor being tested at the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant, will significantly increase electricity generation capacity in Finland. At full capacity, he stressed, the reactor will produce more electricity than is technically possible to import from Russia.

Wind capacity, meanwhile, is growing at a rate of about 1,000 megawatts per year.

Finland currently exports natural gas via three small-scale liquefied natural gas terminals and a gas pipeline to Russia. About half of Russian gas imports, which amounted to 232 million euros in 2020, are used in industrial production and the other half in the production of heat and electricity, according to Energiauutiset.

The Finnish-Estonian are considering leasing a large liquefied natural gas terminal vessel will considerably facilitate the exit of Russian gas. Heikki Lindforsa gas market expert at Finnish Energy, said the vessel and existing routes will be sufficient to cover all gas needs when the vessel is in Finland.

“When the ship is in Estonia, there will be transfer problems because the gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia is not able to transfer all the necessary gas. That’s when we will have to give the priority to the use of gas, and industry will have priority,” he said. commented to the public broadcaster.

The gas used for the production of heat and electricity could be replaced by coal, peat and wood, for example.

“Energy companies are preparing for next winter by buying alternative fuels to gas, as its availability is unknown,” he said. “We are in a good situation because we have a few months to prepare. Gas demand is significantly lower in the summer than during the heating season.

Russian wood chips, in turn, were used in particular by district heating plants, but they can also be replaced by domestic sources.

“Chips imported from Russia can be replaced, and the government has already taken action by increasing funding. Emergency peat reserves are also planned. The change will require action from consumers and users, but I believe we will get there,” Kostama said.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT