The European Commission has concluded that Finland’s plans to grant EUR 23 million (USD 26.2 million) of public funding for the construction of a small scale LNG terminal at Pori, in the Satakunta region on Finland’s west coast, are compatible with EU state aid rules and will contribute to the EU’s Energy Unuion strategy. The project aims to encourage the use of LNG as fuel for ships, in place of fuel oils and liquefied petroleum gases.
The Commission concluded that the project contributes to environmental protection and to the security of gas supply in Finland whilst maintaining competition in the Single Market. Seeking to end the energy isolation of the Baltic Sea Region and to integrate it fully into the EU energy markets is a key building block for the EU’s Energy Union strategy and one of the key priorities of the Juncker Commission.
EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: “The LNG terminal in Pori is the first of its kind in Finland. It will provide a new source of cleaner fuel for the maritime industry and diversify Finland’s gas supply sources. It is a good example of how EU state aid rules can encourage sound public investment that helps the EU reach its goals on energy security and environmental protection.”
The project will bring about a significant reduction in CO2 emissions by providing cleaner fuel for maritime transport. At the same time, the LNG infrastructure will increase the security of supply in Finland, providing local industries with access to gas. The Pori terminal has a storage capacity of 30 000 m3. The public funding of €23 441 500 will cover less than 30% of the total investment costs; the remainder will be funded by the developer and future owner of the terminal.
The Commission’s assessment showed that the project could not have been carried out without public funding. Indeed, as Finland currently has no LNG infrastructure, potential customers are reluctant to carry out the long-term and costly investments for switching to LNG fuel. In turn, private investors have no incentive to build LNG infrastructure because there is no demand.
Moreover, the operator of the infrastructure will be under an obligation to provide access to interested users at a competitive price. This will ensure that the aid is limited to the minimum necessary for triggering the investment and that distortions of competition and trade are minimised.
(Source: European Commission)