Norway-Poland Baltic Pipe opens in move to cut Russia gas dependency

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Leaders from Poland, Norway and Denmark have attended a ceremony in Szczecin to mark the opening of the brand new Baltic Pipe, a key stage in the drive to wean Poland and Europe off Russian gas.

The pipeline will transport pure gas from the Norwegian shelf by way of Denmark and thru the Baltic Sea to Poland. It is the centrepiece of a Polish technique to diversify away from Russia that started years earlier than Moscow’s February invasion of Ukraine triggered a worldwide vitality disaster.

The flows from Norway together with provides by way of liquefied gas terminals are central to Poland’s plan. The nation was cut off from Russian gas provides in April, allegedly for refusing to pay in roubles.

“The period of Russian domination in the sector of gas is coming to an finish, the period that was marked by blackmail, threats and extortion,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki mentioned on the inauguration.

Norwegian Energy Minister Terje Aasland mentioned it was “an necessary step on the necessary highway to Europe’s independence from Russian vitality”.

“We should do the whole lot we are able to to eradicate vitality as an instrument of Russian energy,” added Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. “Together we are going to defeat Putin.” 

The Danish system operator Energinet mentioned on the weekend that the pipeline may very well be commissioned at full capability a month early thanks to good progress on building work in Denmark. It brings the deliberate date ahead to the top of November as an alternative of 1 January.

Construction in Denmark had been suspended for 9 months for environmental causes however resumed final March.

“Due to a unprecedented effort on the a part of everybody concerned, we had been in a position to lay the remaining pipelines quicker than anticipated. Full commissioning can subsequently happen forward of time,” mentioned Torben Brabo, Energinet’s Director of International Relations.

“Baltic Pipe is an element of a bigger Polish technique to finish dependency on Russian gas flowing via the Yamal pipeline. It was a cornerstone of the plan. The undeniable fact that it’s being finalised sooner than anticipated in fact comes at a great time, since Poland not receives the gas it used to,” Trine Villumsen Berling, senior researcher in international safety on the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), informed Euronews.

“It was, nonetheless, at all times the Polish plan to cease utilizing Russian gas when the contract with Gazprom ran out by the top of 2022,” she added.

The Polish vitality infrastructure minister Mateusz Berger mentioned on Saturday that the completion meant Poland ought to get double the quantity of gas initially anticipated in the final quarter of the 12 months.

Norway’s Equinor mentioned on Friday it had entered right into a 10-year settlement to promote pure gas to Poland’s PGNiG in a deal protecting a quantity of two.4 billion cubic metres (bcm) per 12 months, or round 15% of Polish annual consumption. The Baltic Pipe has an annual capability of 10 bcm.

The contract with Equinor dietary supplements Poland’s liquefied pure gas (LNG) provide, home output and potential imports by way of interconnectors with its neighbours forward of the approaching winter. PGNiG said in a statement final week that it had secured its gas provide for the winter heating season.

In late August a gas interconnector between Poland and Slovakia came into operation — a key a part of the North-South gas infrastructure hall between the Baltic Sea, the Adriatic and Aegean Seas, the jap Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.

“This interconnector will considerably enhance the EU’s safety of provide and resilience of our vitality system,” mentioned European Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson. The EU funded greater than €100 million, or about 40% of the venture prices.

Analysts say the brand new Baltic Pipe ought to have advantages for international locations past Poland.

“The Baltic Pipe will even be necessary for the Baltic States. They can obtain gas via the GIPL — Gas Interconnector Poland Lithuania — the identical manner Poland has acquired gas from Lithuania since April,” mentioned Trine Villumsen Berling.

“The hall can be appropriate to switch gas from Poland to the Danish market, additional including to the pliability and safety of vitality provide in the area,” the DIIS mentioned an energy assessment published in July.

It highlighted Poland and Lithuania as having been in the forefront of requires “higher unity inside the EU and stronger sanctions on Russian fossil fuels”.

“Although numerous strategic initiatives in the Polish and Lithuanian vitality sectors are coming to fruition right now, they’re the outcomes of the 2 states’ long-term strategic visions of vitality independence from Moscow’s grip,” the report mentioned.

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