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EIA on pipeline and proposed LNG terminal

LNG Industry,

The environmental impact assessment (EIA) has begun, according to a statement from the Finnish natural gas player Gasum. Its purpose is to map the environmental impact of Balticconnector, a proposed pipeline under the Gulf of Finland, connecting Finnish and Estonian gas grids. Gasum’s Estonian partner in the Balticconnector project is gas grid operator AS EG Võrguteenus.

Gasum’s ongoing Finngulf LNG and Balticconnector projects aim for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Joddböle, Inkoo, and the Balticconnector subsea natural gas pipeline between Inkoo and Paldinski. As a part of the project the possibility of establishing a LNG terminal in Tolkkinen, Porvoo, and natural gas pipelines between Inkoo and Siuntio, as well as Paldinski and Kiili, were also examined.

Joining the gas grids is a part of Gasum’s plan of constructing a LNG import terminal in Joddböle, Inkoo. Through the Balticconnector pipeline the Inkoo terminal would serve both Finnish and Baltic gas markets. The connection would enable the transmission of gas in both directions between Finland and Estonia.

Both the LNG terminal and the Balticconnector pipeline are listed on the European Union’s Projects of Common Interest list. This makes them eligible for EU funding.

Environmental impact assessment?

In accordance with a mutual agreement between Finland and Estonia, assessment procedures began at the same time in both countries. The initiative is being carried out in accordance with the UNECE Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, also known as the Espoo Convention. Based on the convention, both parties can comment on the initiative’s environmental impact across national boundaries, from Estonia to Finland and vice versa.

The EIA will look at four possible options: two alternative routes on Finnish territorial waters and two alternative routes on Estonian territorial waters. In Finland, the pipeline would come ashore in the Joddböle region of Inkoo. In Estonia alternative locations are situated on the Paldiski peninsula.

The EIA programme for Balticconnector was completed in early 2014 and was handed to officials in each country in January 2014: the Uusimaa ELY-Centre in Finland and the Ministry of Economic affairs and Communications in Estonia. The EIA programme features a report on the current status of the area examined as well as plans for assessing kinds of environmental impact and ways of carrying out the EIA report. In the second stage of the EIA, a report on the environmental impact of the initiative will be written based on the EIA programme and related statements and comments.

EIA programme available for public review

In Finland, the EIA programme will be available for public review in the municipalities of Inkoo and Siuntio as well as the Uusimaa ELY Centre from 10 February to7 April 2014. The EIA programme is also available on Gasum’s website. Comments and statements on the EIA programme can be delivered in writing to the Uusimaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment by 7 April 2014. The ELY Centre will compile the comments received and hand them over to the responsible official with an accompanying statement. The initiative and the EIA programme will be presented to the public on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 at 6 - 8 pm at the Kyrkfjärden school (Museotie 7, 10210 Inkoo).

In Estonia the EIA programme will be available for public review in the municipality of Paldiski, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications as well as the Ministry of the Environment in Tallinn from 10 February to 7 April 2014. In Estonia, comments and statements on the EIA should be delivered in writing to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, who will hand them over to the responsible official. In Estonia, the EIA programme will be revised according to relevant statements. The revised EIA programme will then be handed over to the Ministry of the Environment, who will make a decision on the approval of the EIA programme.

In Estonia, the initiative and the EIA programme will be presented to the public in Paldiski on 15 April at 5 pm at Paldiski high school (Peetri 26, 76805 Paldiski) and in Tallinn on 16 March at 5 pm at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (Harju 11, 15072 Tallinn).


  Adapted from press release by Ted Monroe

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