Joining other gas-strapped European nations, Finland just got its first floating liquefied natural gas terminal. The vessel, called Exemplar, is anchored at the southern port of Inkoo, where it will serve as a distribution hub for Finland and Baltic states such as Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Russia ended gas exports to the nordic country back in May in response to Finland refusing to use rubles for the transactions. Russia began demanding payment in its own currency earlier this year as the value of the ruble plunged after the invasion of Ukraine. The gas ban ended a 50-year trade relationship and effectively cut off the bulk of Finland's natural gas supply, which provides for 5 percent of its energy needs.
Finland isn't alone, however. Germany completed its first floating LNG terminal in November, and two similar vessels set up operations in the Dutch port of Eemshaven in September.
The terminals are picking up the slack left by Russian exports, which provided the bulk of Europe's gas needs. In 2022, Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom exported nearly half the amount it did the previous year, according to a Bloomberg report.
The situation has left Europe more dependent on LNG, which unlike regular natural gas can be stored and shipped across the ocean — particularly from the United States. Yet the elevated demand has overwhelmed existing infrastructure and made floating terminals essential to meeting Europe's energy needs as it adjusts to the absence of Russian exports.
Finland is leasing the Exemplar for a 10-year period for roughly $490 million. The ship is owned by the U.S. company Excelerate Energy Inc.