In Paldiski, Estonia, abandoned Soviet-era bunkers, splattered with graffiti and overgrown with weeds, are a reminder of the centuries-long domination that Russia once exerted over the Baltic region.
Now this port city in the northwestern corner of the country is hastily being turned into a bulwark against Russian efforts to politically pressure Europe. Ever since Moscow threatened to withhold natural gas as retribution for countries opposed to its invasion of Ukraine, workers in Paldiski have been constructing an offshore terminal for non-Russian gas at a round-the-clock pace.
The project is one piece of Europe’s strategy to quickly wean itself off the Russian energy that is heating homes and powering factories across the continent.
The Estonian terminal will serve as a floating dock for a gargantuan processing tanker that will receive deliveries of liquefied natural gas and convert it back into a vapor that can be piped through the existing network that serves the Baltics and Finland. With a scheduled finish date in November, Paldiski is on route to be the first new L.N.G. terminal completed in Europe since the war started.
Shipping natural gas in a liquefied form has become Europe’s eureka solution to what the European Commission has labeled “energy blackmail” by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Since the fighting began in late February, 18 new facilities or expansions of existing ones have been proposed in 11 European countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Greece, according to Rystad Energy.
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