Finland state

Greenpeace activists block delivery of Russian LNG to Finland

Courtesy of Greenpeace Nordic

Posted on September 20, 2022 at 10:19 p.m. by

The Maritime Executive

Over the weekend, protesters from Greenpeace Nordic briefly delayed the arrival of a small LNG carrier at the port of Röyttä in northern Finland. The vessel was carrying a cargo of gas of Russian origin, which is used at the port for industrial purposes and marine LNG bunkering. Protesters temporarily occupied the wharf and called for a halt to the import of Russian fossil fuels.

Finnish imports of Russian oil and gas are relatively small. Finnish refiners have already drastically reduced their imports of Russian oil, anticipating further EU sanctions. In May, Russia’s state-owned gas company Gazprom cut off Finland’s pipeline supply of Russian natural gas after demanding payment in roubles, a new protocol the Finnish government was unwilling to follow.

However, Gazprom has allowed Finnish national gas company Gasum to continue buying a small amount of LNG from the Gazprom/Novatek terminal in Voysotsk, Russia. Gasum has a long-term take-or-pay contract for these shipments and charters the small ice-class LNG carriers Coral energy and Coral Energy – each about a tenth the size of an ocean-going LNG carrier – to make trips from Voysotsk to Röyttä and other ports several times a month.

These expeditions drew attention and Greenpeace activists called on Gasum to stop buying the fuel. However, Gasum notes that it has a take-or-pay contract, and if it didn’t take the LNG, it would still have to pay – and the Russian producer could then resell the gas a second time. Greenpeace counters that a Finnish government ban on Russian LNG would overcome this contractual hurdle.

“It is totally unacceptable that Russian fossil gas is still allowed to enter Finland, more than six months after Putin started his invasion of Ukraine. The Finnish government and Prime Minister Sanna Marin must immediately ban all Russian fossil fuel imports,” Olli Tiainen, climate and energy campaign manager at Greenpeace Nordic, said in a statement on Saturday.

Image courtesy of Greenpeace Nordic

When Coral Energy arrived from the port for a routine delivery on Saturday, Greenpeace activists in kayaks waited along the quay and climbers had occupied the receiving terminal. They unfurled banners asking the Finnish government to declare an “immediate halt to the import of Russian fossil gas”.

AIS data shows the Energy arrived in the early hours of Saturday morning, but reversed course before the entrance channel and then loitered offshore all day. She resumed her inbound transit on Sunday morning and arrived at her berth around 1300 GMT.

Earlier in the month, a similar demonstration by Greenpeace briefly delayed the unloading of the Coral Energy at Gasum’s Nynäshamn terminal south of Stockholm, Sweden.

Image courtesy of Greenpeace Nordic