Submarine Gas Pipeline Leak Between Finland and Estonia Raises Concerns


As winter looms, Europe faces another energy crisis. A little over a year after the Nord Stream pipeline was sabotaged, allegedly by the US according to Pulitzer-winner Seymour Hersh, a new disruption in European energy pipelines is making headlines.

This time, it’s a submarine gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia that has been damaged, causing a significant leak. The Finnish government has stated that this appears to be a deliberate act of sabotage.

The Balticconnector gas pipeline, a 77-km (48-mile) conduit under the Baltic Sea, was shut down due to the leak. The Finnish operator, Gasgrid, warned the damage could take months to repair.

This incident caused gas markets across Europe to surge to their highest price in six months, with UK gas market prices jumping by almost 15% and the benchmark price for European gas climbing to its highest since April.

In addition to the gas pipeline, a telecommunications cable connecting Finland and Estonia under the Baltic Sea was also damaged. The Finnish Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating the external damage to the pipeline.

Preliminary findings suggest the size of the damage indicates deliberate action. To inflict this kind of damage would require ‘special knowledge,’ suggesting this was not an act that could have been done by an ordinary person.

The Finnish Prime Minister, Petteri Orpo, has described the damage to the pipeline as “worrying”. However, he assured that Finland’s energy supply remains stable and that the damage to the telecommunications cable did not affect Finland’s overall connectivity.

He urged caution in drawing conclusions about who or what caused the damage until the investigation is complete. The damage to the gas pipeline took place in Finnish waters, while the telecoms cable breach was in Estonian waters.

This new disruption comes after the 2022 Nord Stream gas pipeline explosions, which authorities have said were deliberate acts of sabotage. These incidents raise serious concerns about the security of Europe’s energy infrastructure.

While it is too early to point fingers, Finnish media has cited government sources suspecting Russian sabotage. However, Prime Minister Orpo has emphasized the importance of not jumping to conclusions at this stage.

NATO’s Jens Stoltenberg has stated that the alliance will share information about the destruction of the underwater infrastructure and support its allies.

The security of Europe’s energy infrastructure needs to be prioritized. Repeated disruptions not only affect the energy supply, but also have significant economic implications.