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Lithuania plans to link gas transmission grid with Europe via Poland

10.31.2013  | 

Lithuania plans to move ahead with a $767 million project linking the Baltic natural gas transmission grid with the rest of Europe via Poland after the European Union gave it priority status.

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By BRYAN BRADLEY

VILNIUS (Bloomberg) -- Lithuania plans to move ahead with a $767 million project linking the Baltic natural gas transmission grid with the rest of Europe via Poland after the European Union gave it priority status.

The EU included the link in the list of common-interest energy projects published earlier this month, which means the pipeline is eligible for as much as 75 % financing by the 28-nation bloc, Lithuania’s Energy Ministry in the capital Vilnius said today in an e-mailed statement. Progress in talks with Poland also means territorial planning can now start, the ministry said.

The new Polish connector, along with planned liquefied natural gas terminals in the Baltic region, will help Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia escape current total dependence on Gazprom for natural gas supplies. It’s also part of EU plans for a north-south gas corridor across central and eastern Europe linking the Baltic, Black, Adriatic and Aegean Seas.

“Our gas link with Poland is strategically important for the entire region,” Lithuanian Energy Minister Jaroslav Neverovic said in the statement.

“This project will contribute significantly to realizing one of the EU’s main energy policy goals - completing the internal market.”

Lithuanian and Polish gas transmission system operators, Amber Grid and Gaz-System, are managing the project to build 534 km of pipeline between Jauniunai in Lithuania and Rembelszczyzna in Poland, the ministry said.

The connection, known as GIPL, is now scheduled to start operations in 2018, Saulius Bilys, Amber Grid’s CEO, said at a conference in Vilnius. Its initial capacity to transport 2.4 bcm per year of gas can be increased later to 4.1 bcm, Bilys said.



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