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Finland still purchasing gas from Russia

The state-owned firm Gasum has continued to buy natural gas from Russia, arguing that it is obliged by a long-term contract to pay anyway.

Sinisen tankkausaseman kyljessä teksti Gasum, puhtaasti luonnonkaasulla.
Finland's state-owned gas firm Gasum has continued fulfilling its contract with Gazprom. Image: Petteri Bülow / Yle
Yle News

The Finnish state-owned gas firm Gasum has continued to purchase natural gas from Russia, even after Russia's invasion of Ukraine forced an end to other contracts and trade with Russia.

According to data from Finnish Customs, Gasum has purchased a total of 175 million euros of natural gas from Russia since February 2022.

Gasum confirmed to Yle that the company had signed a long-term supply agreement with Gazprom "before 2022" and that said contract will be valid "for several more years".

Gas purchases from Russia by Gasum also financially benefit oligarch Gennady Timchenko. According to customs information, Timchenko owns a stake in the private company Novatek which owns a gas liquefaction plant that sourced a recent shipment of gas to Gasum.

Gasum denied this claim and responded that they had only purchased the bare minimum stipulated by their contract from Russian state-owned firm Gazprom.

Timchenko, who holds Finnish citizenship, is on sanctions lists produced by both the EU and US due to his close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Gasum: Contract obliges Finland to pay

Gasum emphasised that it continues to purchase gas from Russia under its pre-existing contract.

"The contract is a so-called take-or-pay contract, which is common in gas supply contracts. It means that Gasum is obliged to pay for a certain amount of liquefied natural gas (LNG) every year, whether we get it from Russia or not," Gasum responded to Yle via email.

Gasum noted that it has no legal grounds to terminate the contract or take it to arbitration. In August 2022, Minister of European Affairs and Ownership Steering Tytti Tuppurainen (SDP) said that the purchase of Russian gas products should be halted.

The EU has not banned the sale of Russian gas, although some member states have taken steps to move away from Russian energy.

"Since the beginning of the war, Gasum has only imported the minimum amount of LNG from Russia as stipulated in the contract. We have not agreed on any additional shipments and we do not intend to do so in the future," the firm told Yle.

Gasum did not answer Yle's questions about whether there is a problem that the purchases benefit the economy of Russia and, indirectly, Gennady Timchenko.

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