Poland and the Baltic states are taking another step towards independence from Russian energies. The GIPL (gas link between Poland and Lithuania) pipeline was inaugurated on Thursday May 5, a few days after it was put into operation. With a length of 508 kilometers, including 165 kilometers in Lithuania and 343 kilometers in Poland, it will eventually be able to transport nearly two billion cubic meters of gas in both directions. It is expected to reach full capacity in October. Thanks to the existing gas networks, you will be able to connect Latvia, Estonia and Finland as well.
The decision to build this infrastructure is not related to the war in Ukraine since the construction site began in 2020. However, it is time for these countries that want to stop their imports of Russian energy. The Baltic countries have also stopped importing Russian gas since the beginning of April, and the three countries are counting on their current reserves of gas stored underground.
Today, we dedicate our energy independence, He welcomed the President of Lithuania Gitanas Nauseda, during an official ceremony organized in JauniūnaiNear Vilnius, which brought together high-ranking officials from Poland and the Baltic states. And insistence: We are strengthening our resistance to political pressure. »
Polish President Andrzej Duda said: This link is a response to extortion. The power that Moscow exerts on Europe. As a reminder, on April 27, the Russian gas giant Gazprom suspended all gas shipments to Poland and Bulgaria, posing a threat of shortages in Central and Eastern Europe but also on the entire European continent.
Another step towards independence with Russian energies
The GIPL gas pipeline, which cost about 500 million euros, with significant funding from the European Union, provides one of Poland’s alternative gas sources and should cover 10% of the country’s annual demand. The Polish government, which uses up to 21 billion cubic meters of gas annually, has declared itself “Ready to face full cut” Russian gas. According to the Executive, Poland’s energy supply is already guaranteed, without the need to rely on gas reserves and without interruption of access to consumers.
As early as March, Warsaw announced that it wanted to get rid of its economic dependence on Russia. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki listed a series of alleged actions “Anti-Putin Shield” meant, according to him, for Displacement of the Polish and European economy, but also to rein in inflation, protect employment, and resist – indeed – “Gas blackmail” from Moscow.
The Polish state intends to invest three billion zlotys (636 million euros) in the state-owned company Gaz-System, which builds and operates not only gas pipelines but also liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal From the port of Swinoujscie in the west of the country.
This plant was established in 2016, and in 2020 its capacity increased by 50% in 2020, reaching 7.5 billion cubic meters per year. To give an order of magnitude, the Polish gas company has received so far from Russia about 9 billion cubic meters of gas per year, or 45% of national needs – Poland’s total annual gas consumption is about 20 billion cubic meters.
Gaz-System is building a Baltic gas pipeline that should bring Norwegian gas to Poland before the end of the year and further reduce the country’s dependence on Russian gas.
On the Baltic side, the opening of the gas pipeline to Lithuania represents a second source of gas supply independent of Moscow, as the country has had a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal since 2014. According to Eurostat, in 2020 Russia accounted for 93% of Estonia’s gas imports Natural, 100% of Latvia’s imports, 41.8% of Lithuania’s imports.
Europe is betting on LNG
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February, Europe has been seeking to significantly increase its imports of liquefied natural gas, which is distinguished by its ability to transport by ship from anywhere in the world, to reduce its dependence on Russian gas. , which arrive mainly by gas pipeline.
“The LNG market is growing rapidly and recent price increases indicate a structural imbalance between supply and demand growth,” This Thursday, May 5, indicated the president of the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIGIGNL), the professional union of the sector, Jean Abiteboul.
Importing LNG requires building heavy terminals, or at least purchasing floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs) for imported LNG. Advertisements regarding buying or renting these units have multiplied in recent weeks, and every country wants to have this type of structure as soon as possible.
But finding a floating unit can be complicated due to its rarity and very high demand. Shipbuilding is conceivable, but shipyards that produce this type of unit are mainly in Asia and their order books are already full over the next few years.