Finland-Estonia Balticconnector Gas Flows Estimate Set

OSLO, May 7 (Reuters) - A gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea that is due to start operation early next year will begin with a capacity of between 97MMcf and 133MMcf per day from Estonia to Finland, Estonian partner Elering said on Tuesday.

Flows the other way, from Finland to Estonia, will start with a capacity of between 144MMcf and 200MMcf per day, the company said in a statement. Capacities are calculated for the starting period of winter-spring of 2020.

Finland, Estonia and Latvia, which will be served by the pipeline, agreed to form a joint gas market earlier this year.

According to the agreement, gas will move between the three countries from next year without additional costs. The volume of the Finnish-Estonian-Latvian gas market is approximately 137Bcf per year.

The $336-million (300 million-euro) pipeline is mostly funded by the European Union and will allow Finland to diversify the source of its gas imports which were previously supplied solely by Russia's Gazprom.

The project's partners are Elering and Finland's state-owned Baltic Connector Oy. Some 75 percent of the pipeline cost is covered by the EU, with Finland and Estonia sharing the rest of the bill.

Baltic Connector Oy was not immediately available for comment.

($1 = 0.8919 euros) (Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos, editing by Terje Solsvik and Louise Heavens)

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