Finland confirmed that Russia has shut down its gas

Finnish energy company Gasum confirmed that Russian gas supplies to Finland were stopped today due to non-payment in rubles.

“The supply of natural gas to Finland under the contract with Russia has stopped,” Finnish state-owned energy company Gasum said in a statement today, adding that it will continue to supply customers with gas and water from other sources through the Balticconnector pipeline , which connects Finland with Estonia.

The company that runs Finland’s state-owned natural gas transmission system also confirmed that “gas imports through the border gate of Imatra (town near the Russian border) have been stopped.” Imatra is the entry point for Russian gas to Finland.

Gazprom's Siberian Energy plant, which processes gas produced in the Russian Far East, in November 2019. Photo: Reuters.

Gazprom’s Siberian Energy plant, which processes gas produced in the Russian Far East, in November 2019. Image: Reuters.

Gazprom Export, a gas export subsidiary of Russia’s Gazprom group, announced yesterday that from 7 a.m. (11 a.m. Hanoi time) on May 21, it would shut off gas to neighboring Finland “until it is received. Payment in accordance with the prescribed procedures” with reference to the payment request in rubles.

After the Russian announcement, the Gasum boss stated that he was “thoroughly prepared for this situation” and “to be able to continue supplying gas to all customers in the coming months if the transmission grid is not working”.

Most of the gas consumed in Finland is imported from Russia, but this fuel accounts for only about 5% of the Nordic country’s total annual energy consumption. Gasum warned on May 18 that Russia could shut off gas after Finland refused to pay in rubles.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there were no details on Gazprom’s gas supply contracts. “However, it is clear that nothing is offered to anyone for free,” said Peskov.

The risk of cutting off most gas supplies from Russia has prompted major Finnish companies to look for alternatives or plan to adjust production. A Finnish forestry consortium has announced that it has replaced gas imported from Russia with liquefied natural gas (LNG) in all its member units.

Tensions between Russia and Finland recently escalated when the Nordic country applied to join NATO. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Finland that it would be a mistake to abandon its policy of neutrality to bid for this military alliance.

The EU's dependence on energy imports.  Graphic: Visual Capitalist.

The EU’s dependence on energy imports. Graphic: visual capitalist.

Huyen Le (Corresponding AFP, Reuters)