Finland and Estonia are seeking answers on undersea infrastructure ‘as soon as possible’.

Damage to an undersea gas pipeline and telecommunications cable connecting Finland and Estonia appears to have been caused by “external activity”, Finnish and Estonian officials said.

The Finish President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy received a briefing on the situation regarding critical underwater infrastructure in Finland’s neighbouring areas.

The discussion follows damage observed in the Balticconnector gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia, “which was likely caused by outside activity,” as the Finish government states, as well as a fault detected in a telecommunications cable between Finland and Estonia.

The location of the leak in the Balticconnector gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia was identified in Finland’s exclusive economic zone on 10 October 2023.

Based on information from the Finnish Border Guard, Gasgrid Finland has given its expert assessment according to which the damage was not caused by the normal gas transmission process.

“What specifically caused the damage is not yet known,” the Finnish president office pointed out in a release earlier this month.

The President and the Ministerial Committee noted that Finland is cooperating closely on the matter with Estonia in particular, but also with other EU and NATO partners. The level of preparedness concerning Finland’s critical infrastructure has been raised.

In terms of security of supply, the situation remains stable, as the finish government claims.

The Balticconnector gas pipeline was shut down at midnight on 8 October when gas transmission companies Gasgrid in Finland and Elering in Estonia detected a breach. Gasgrid estimates that it will take months to repair the gas pipeline.

According to the Prime Minister of Estonia, Kaja Kallas, there is no threat to Estonia’s security of supply but both Estonia and Finland are taking these incidents very seriously and are doing everything possible to determine the circumstances.

The supply of gas is ensured with Estonia’s own supply and via Latvia, while the malfunction of the undersea communication cable is not affecting any Internet services, Prime Minister Kallas added.

The National Bureau of Investigation of Finland has launched a criminal investigation regarding possible sabotage of the Balticconnector gas pipeline as the leak is located in Finland’s exclusive economic zone. Estonia has also launched a criminal investigation regarding the malfunction of the communications cable,” said Kallas.

Prime Minister of Finland, Petteri Orpo, noted that Finnish and Estonian authorities are working closely together to investigate the damage to the undersea infrastructure. “Investigations are still ongoing. Finland is well prepared; our readiness is high, and the situation is stable. Our security of supply is not threatened.”

Finland’s gas supply system remains stable, with supply secured by the floating LNG terminal in Ingå. The terminal has the capacity and capability to supply the gas Finland needs through the coming winter.

As the Finnish government notes “The available capacity on the market is more than sufficient to meet the anticipated needs.”

It is also said that a disruption in the supply of pipeline gas will not cause immediate problems to the security of energy supply. The outage may slightly increase the price of gas, but it is not expected to have much effect on the price of electricity in Finland. The power cables between Finland and Estonia (Estlink 1 and 2) are operating normally.