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Argus Media Limited

12/05/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/05/2023 13:03

Cold weather causes Baltic gas burn to soar

Cold weather in the Baltics and Finland has bolstered gas-fired power generation in the region, lifting gas consumption in Finland high enough to force the transmission system operator (TSO) to take balancing actions.

Gas-fired power generation in Latvia jumped to 489MW on 1-4 December from 242MW in November, which had already been the highest for any month since February. Gas-fired output in Finland soared to 481MW from 205MW, while it was up to 230MW on 1-4 December in Lithuania from just 78MW in November, data from European grid operators' association Entso-E show.

Cold weather was the driving force behind the increase in gas-fired generation. Minimum temperatures dropped as low as minus 17°C in Helsinki on 3 December, minus 6°C in Riga on 4 December and nearly minus 10°C in Vilnius on 4 December. Finland has little direct heating with gas, but has indirect use through district heating and combined heat and power plants (CHPs). District heating with CHPs is common in the Baltics as well, although households directly connected to the grid are also more common.

Finnish gas consumption was in the range of 65 GWh/d-72 GWh/d in recent days, TSO Gasgrid Finland said yesterday in a note to system users seen by Argus. This is higher than the default regasification profile at the 3.9mn t/yr Inkoo LNG terminal, Gasgrid noted, adding that only 385GWh was stored at the terminal as of yesterday morning, and the next shipment is not due until 9 November according to the terminal schedule (see data and download).

Gasgrid expects cold weather to continue, which could keep consumption elevated in the coming days. The TSO was forced to take balance management measures on 4 December which resulted in a higher buy price, it said. The TSO therefore "emphasises the importance of minimising the imbalance to ensure gas adequacy and maintain security of supply".

Finland is entirely reliant on LNG imports to meet domestic demand, after the Balticconnector pipeline was taken off line in October until at least April next year. Consecutive days of market imbalances have occurred several times in Finland over the past year.

By Brendan A'Hearn