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Finland buys out Russian share in gas firm Gasum

The quarter-billion-euro deal is motivated by concerns over the climate – as well as over Finland's energy dependence on Russia, which supplies 70 percent of its energy.

Image: YLE / Tommi Parkkinen

The state of Finland is buying out the Russian share in the gas company Gasum. The Russian parastatal Gazprom has until now held a 25 percent share. On Friday morning Gasum announced that it would now be fully Finnish-owned. The Council of State says the deal cost 251.3 million euros, placing the whole company's value at more than a billion euros.

The transaction is to be completed in early 2016. Just over a year ago, the Finnish state gained a majority stake by buying out two other major shareholders, including majority-state-owned utility Fortum.

"Key reasons for the decision of the Finnish State to buy the Gasum shares are that, in its various forms, gas plays a central role in Finnish energy solutions and offers a cost-effective transition towards a carbon-neutral society," it said in a statement.

70% dependence

Another key – but unstated – reason is likely concern over Finland's energy dependence on Russia, which last year supplied some 70 percent of its energy. This included all of its gas, 90 percent of coal and oil, and a quarter of its imported electricity. Russian state-owned firm Rosatom is also to build, maintain and supply the new Fennovoima nuclear power plant.

Gasum also notes that emissions from natural gas are at least 40 percent lower than that of coal, while liquefied natural gas (LNG) "helps cut carbon dioxide emissions by around a quarter in comparison with heavy fuel oil, and with biogas the emission reduction is up to 97%".

Gasum says it will focus on domestic biogas production from biodegradable waste as well as advancing the use of LNG in Finland and the other Nordic countries.

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