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Finland, Baltic states postpone gas pipeline maintenance to secure supply

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FILE PHOTO: llustration shows natural gas pipeline, Finnish and Russian flag colours

OSLO (Reuters) - Finland and the Baltic states will postpone summer maintenance on a major gas pipeline to help secure supplies following Russia's decision to cut off deliveries to Finland.

The decision to postpone maintenance on the Balticconnector pipeline was reached by the gas transmission system operators of Finland and two of the three Baltic states, Estonia and Latvia, Finland's Gasgrid said in a statement on Thursday.

The pipeline, linking Finland with Estonia, has become a key source of energy for Finnish firms after Russia's decision last month to stop supplying the Nordic country, part of a dispute with the West over energy and the war in Ukraine.

"Summer capacity on Balticconnector has been restored to normal levels," Estonia's Elering said, adding the decision to postpone Balticconnector maintenance was "due to disruption through Imatra point".

Imatra was, until May 21, the entry point for Russian gas into Finland.

The summer works will be suspended until Finland and Estonia receive supplies via the floating storage and regasification (FSRU) vessel Excelerate Energy the two countries have jointly chartered, the grid companies said.

They have not given a date for when that might be.

The companies also said they had prepared an action plan for interruptions at the Estonian and Latvian entry points for Russian gas in Värska and Luhamaa, respectively, which can still be commercially used by market participants.

A halt at Luhamaa would reduce flows on the Balticconnector to 40.56 gigawatt hours (GWh) per day from 65.4 GWh/day, they said.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Nora Buli; Editing Mark Potter)

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