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NORSAR: Balticconnector pipeline between Finland and Estonia damaged by explosion

Balticconnector ensures gas transportation between Finland, Estonia, and Latvia, helping these NATO countries reduce dependence on Russian gas.
Balticconnector
Balticconnector gas pipeline. Map by NORSAR.
NORSAR: Balticconnector pipeline between Finland and Estonia damaged by explosion

The Norwegian non-governmental research institute NORSAR recorded signs of an explosion off the coast of Finland in the Baltic Sea around the time the Balticconnector subsea gas pipeline and telecommunications cable was damaged on 8 October 2023.

In its press release shortly after briefings by Finnish and Estonian government officials on the incident, NORSAR stated that evidence suggested that a powerful explosion damaged the Balticconnector gas pipeline.

NORSAR detected a probable explosion along the Finnish coast of the Baltic Sea at 01:20 (local time in Finland) on 8 October 2023. The blast was detected using stations in Finland, according to NORSAR.

On 8 October, early in the morning, the Balticconnector pipeline was shut due to fears that gas was leaking from a hole in the 77-kilometer gas pipeline. According to the Finnish operator Gasgrid, the pipeline repair could take many months.

Balticconnector is a gas pipeline and telecommunications cable connecting two NATO countries, Finland and Estonia, under the Baltic Sea. Balticconnector was opened in December 2019. The length of its underwater part from the port city of Paldiski on the Pakri Peninsula of northwestern Estonia to Inkoo in Finland is 77 kilometers.

Balticconnector ensures gas transportation between Finland, Estonia, and Latvia, helping these EU and NATO countries reduce local markets’ dependence on Russian gas.

In a phone conversation between NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, the Finnish President said that the Balticconnector pipeline had been damaged due to external influence.

“It is likely that damage to both the gas pipeline and the communication cable is the result of outside activity. The cause of the damage is not yet clear, the investigation continues in cooperation between Finland and Estonia,” the President of Finland said in a statement on 10 October.

The foreign ministers of Estonia and Finland also discussed the incident.

On 10 October, Jens Stoltenberg said NATO was sharing its information about the damage and stands ready to support the allies concerned, Reuters reported.

Finland joined NATO in April 2023. Estonia has been a NATO member since 2004.

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