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Russian LNG facilities: an emerging Baltic infrastructure

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Author(s): Dr Daria Gritsenko, Researcher, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Proliferation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Baltic Sea region (BSR) has recently been celebrated for two reasons. Firstly, its flexible logistics allows diversification of gas supply sources, and what with the escalation of political tensions between the EU and Russia – prompted by the Ukrainian crisis – the issue of energy independency has become particular relevant, as has the desire for gas supply diversification in the BSR.

Since LNG takes up only about 1/600th the volume of natural gas, greater volumes can be stored at smaller facilities and delivered on-demand by ship, truck or train. Therefore LNG is conceived as an ‘ideal candidate’ to improve European energy security.

Secondly, used as a bunker fuel, LNG significantly reduces SOx, NOx and PM emissions in shipping exhaust fumes, making it an attractive compliance option for operating in the Baltic sulphur emission control area (SECA). Due to a diversity of potential uses (including maritime) and environmental characteristics superior to oil-based energy sources, natural gas has been envisaged as a primary means to succeed in one of the most prominent contemporary challenges: energy transition.

LNG facilities in the BSR

The availability of LNG in the BSR has been limited due to the absence of adequate import infrastructure. Sweden’s (and the Baltic’s) first LNG terminal in Nynäshamn was opened in 2011, and in Autumn, 2014 import terminals in Klaipeda (Lithuania) and Lysekil (Sweden) followed. Now we observe a boom in LNG facility construction…

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