Polish state-owned gas grid operator Gaz-System has secured an environmental permit for the construction of a gas pipeline that will be part of a planned gas link with Slovakia, Gaz-System announced on May 9.
The permit is an important step forward for the link, which is a part of the EU's "north-south corridor” that is planned to create a connection stretching across Central and Eastern Europe. The route will eventually link Poland's LNG terminal in Swinoujscie on the Baltic Sea to Croatia’s planned terminal on the island of Krk on the Adriatic, in a bid to improve energy security in a region heavily dependent on Russian supplies.
The Polish-Slovak connection will run 164km. Just over 100km of the route is in Slovakia. The pipeline will offer capacity of 4.7bn cubic meters per year running from Poland to Slovakia, while 5.7bn cm will be able to run in the opposite direction.
Slovakia currently transits a significant chunk of Russian supply heading to Europe. However, it risks losing that role should Moscow succeed in its goal of cutting its use of the Ukrainian network by building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline beneath the Baltic to Germany. Slovak transmission system operator Eustream is eyeing a role in carrying gas from Western hubs to the Balkans should the Russian plan evolve.
Poland is still pushing to block the construction of Nord Stream 2. Slovakia has also made objections, but recently signed off on an extended deal with Russian gas exporter Gazprom to carry its gas to 2050. The details of the agreement, including where Eustream would collect and deliver the supplies, have not been revealed.
The construction of the Polish-Slovak link is scheduled to begin next year, with the project set to become operational in 2020. In February, Gaz-System and Eustream won €108mn in funds from the EU's Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to finance the link.
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