Published 04.03.2022

Topical questions and answers about security of supply

(Updated 15th September 2022)

The National Emergency Supply Agency (NESA) has been monitoring the Ukraine crisis since December 2021 and is currently compiling a situational picture of the impacts of the war in Ukraine on the security of supply of Finland. The situational picture is being compiled in collaboration with the National Emergency Supply Organisation (NESO).

How will Finland do without Russian gas imports?

Finland’s reliance on natural gas is notably lower than that of Central and Southern Europe. In Finland, approximately 60% of natural gas is used for industrial purposes and 35% is used for energy production. Especially in energy production, natural gas can be largely replaced with other fuels, whereas facilities where this is not possible can take precautions by procuring liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Natural gas has been supplied to the Finnish gas network from Russia via the Imatra border station and via the Balticconnector pipeline between Finland and Estonia. In May, the transit of natural gas through Russia was cut off, which Finland had already been preparing for all spring. The Balticconnector pipeline will continue to provide natural gas to Finland, as usual. During the summer season, there will be a considerably reduced need for natural gas, and starting in the coming winter, the adequacy of natural gas will be ensured by a floating LNG terminal in the port of Ingå.

The National Emergency Supply Agency monitors the markets to ensure the security of the gas supply and has engaged in intensive preparations all spring, together with operators in the sector. Energy companies can replace natural gas with other fuels on market terms, and some have already done so. The direct gas demand of households can be covered in any event. The NESA is prepared to take care of the protected customers in the event that the Balticconnector pipeline would also become unavailable.

What is the purpose of situational picture of security of supply?

The regular compiling of situational pictures is essential for decision-making during exceptional circumstances. The NESA and the NESO’s pools began collecting information on the challenges and ability to function of their own industries during the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis approximately two years ago. The situational pictures compiled during the COVID-19 pandemic have made it possible to analyse and forecast the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on sectors critical to society.

Now, situational pictures of security of supply are compiled on a weekly basis to support the decision-making of the Finnish Government and industries. The situational pictures help monitor and forecast the ability to function of different industries and the challenges that they may potentially face.

How dependent is Finland on energy supplied by Russia?

In addition to its own electricity production, Finland imports electricity via five connections, one of which is in Russia. In 2021, energy imported from Russia accounted for approximately one third of Finland’s total energy imports. This one third can be replaced with domestic electricity production and energy imports from Sweden and Estonia. Furthermore, the new Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant unit will commence regular electricity production in July 2022, which will significantly increase Finland’s energy self-sufficiency.

Up until now, approximately 70% of the crude oil refined in Finland has been imported from Russia. Neste has reported that they have now replaced the majority of these imports with other crude oil grades, such as North Sea oil.

Refined liquid fuel products, such as petroleum and diesel, are widely imported to Finland from Sweden, for example. Finland’s reliance on natural gas is notably lower than that of Central and Southern Europe. In Finland, approximately 60% of natural gas is used for industrial and energy production. This gas can be largely replaced with other fuels, whereas facilities where this is not possible can take precautions by procuring liquefied natural gas (LNG).

How has Finland prepared for fuel import disruptions?

Finland is well-prepared for potential fuel import disruptions. According to a Government Decision issued in 2018, Finland must maintain a stockpile of imported fuels equal to five months of normal fuel consumption. This obligation is fulfilled with compulsory stockpiles maintained by fuel companies and emergency stockpiles maintained by the state. In addition to these, companies have their own commercial stockpiles. Compared to the five-month stockpile obligation of Finland, EU Member States and the member countries of the International Energy Agency are required to maintain stockpiles equal to 90 days of normal fuel consumption. The purpose of these stockpiles is to maintain the ability to function of operators critical to society.

What kind of impacts would a maritime transport disruption in the Baltic Sea have on Finland?

Over 80% of Finland’s imports and exports flow via the Baltic Sea. Because of this, a maritime transport disruption in the Baltic Sea would have an unavoidable impact on Finland’s cargo traffic. Finnish cargo traffic in the Baltic Sea flows in three directions: via Estonia to Eastern Europe, via Stockholm to Southern and Central Europe and from Finland directly to Germany, Poland and ports in the North Sea and the Atlantic. Russia is also dependent on functional maritime transport in the Baltic Sea.

According to an assessment carried out in late 2021, international container port traffic is still being disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has an ongoing impact on the effectiveness of logistics worldwide. Many companies have reacted to the situation by growing their stockpiles and reviewing their value and supply chains.

How can I take care of cyber security?

Modern society is increasingly dependent on digital connections and services, which increases susceptibility to cyber interference and attacks. According to an assessment carried out by the NESO’s Digital Pool, the level of cyber security of Finnish industries is fair overall, but there is a great deal of variation between individual companies. The global cyber environment is currently very active in terms of ongoing operations, the effects of which may be felt in Finland as well. Because of this, it is always a good idea to review your own level of cyber security.

The development of cyber threats is constantly monitored by the National Cyber Security Centre Finland (NCSC-FI), which also publishes monthly Cyber Weather reports, for example. The NCSC-FI also has a digital form on its website for reporting cyber security problems. The NCSC-FI and the NESA have been working together for over a decade to build services and preparedness capabilities in collaboration with companies critical to security of supply.

How self-sufficient is Finland in terms of food supply?

Finland’s food supply is built upon domestic primary production. Approximately 80% of raw food materials are produced domestically, which is an adequate level of self-sufficiency in terms of security of supply.

However, primary production, industry and trade also require products that cannot be produced in Finland. These include energy, chemical products, machinery and spare parts, animal fodder components and food industry ingredients and additives.

Are there enough fertilisers available for crops?

Some concerns have been raised about the supply of fertilisers for agricultural use. However, the Finnish agricultural sector is relatively well-prepared for this year’s growth season. Preparations are also currently underway for ensuring the supply of fertilisers for the 2023 growth season.

Some Finnish farms have not yet received their fertilisers for this year’s growth season, in addition to which there are farms that have not ordered their fertilisers yet. Based on collected information, Finnish operators have enough fertilisers and fertiliser raw materials in stock, but new sources of supply are needed, and their cost structure is as of yet unclear. Because of this, fertiliser factories have temporarily stopped accepting new orders (situation in calendar week 10/2022). Similar developments occurred throughout Europe in 2021 and early 2022 and are common during periods of market instability. Although deliveries may be interrupted, this does not mean that operations will cease entirely.

The National Emergency Supply Agency does not stockpile fertilisers, but does stockpile raw materials for them. The use of emergency stockpiles is always a last resort, and there has been no indication that they would need to be tapped to ensure the supply of fertilisers for this spring. The NESA, authorities, the private sector and organisations are engaging in cooperation to resolve this issue as well.

How will critical industrial production fare in a crisis?

Finnish industrial production relies heavily on imported raw materials. The NESA has been compiling regular situational pictures of industries since spring 2020. In addition to efforts to maintain the ability to function of industrial companies and their production facilities during the pandemic, key observations highlighted in the situational pictures compiled in 2021 include global supply challenges in regard to raw materials and components and problems in international maritime logistics, which have persisted for a prolonged period.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, industrial companies have adapted to major raw material supply disruptions by increasing their stockpiles, where possible, and reviewing their value and supply chains, as a result of which their ability to function in the event of a new crisis is high.

Will shops start running out of food products?

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that Finnish shops are capable of providing a steady supply of food products. Retail operators are well-prepared for various disruptions and engage in extensive cooperation within the National Emergency Supply Organisation, among other networks. The only thing that may cause temporary food shortages is hoarding, which is why hoarding should be avoided.

How can households prepare for disruptions?

The preparedness of households greatly benefits society and, most of all, the individual people of the household themselves. Because of this, everyone should prepare for disruptions. As a general rule, households should be prepared to cope on their own for at least three days in the event of a disruption. More detailed instructions for this are provided in the 72h recommendations prepared by Finnish authorities and NGOs, which are recommended reading for everyone.