The energy that crosses the North

The energy that crosses the North

Lello Stelletti
In the Baltic Sea, strategies are setting for diversifying gas supplies from dependence on Russia, such as the new gas pipeline linking Norway to Denmark, Sweden and Poland by 2022

On June 9, Denmark and Poland signed a memorandum of understanding on gas supplies from the North Sea through the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline project. Signing the agreement were the Prime Ministers of the two countries, Danish Lars Lokke Rasmussen and Polish Beata Szydlo, during a visit to Copenhagen. Szydlo said that the Baltic Pipe is a key project for her country’s energy safety. According to Polish company Gaz-System – operator of the Swinoujscie LNG terminal, in the north-western part of the country – Baltic Pipe could enter into operation in October 2022 and is expected to have a capacity of 10 billion cubic meters. According to Poland’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Konrad Szymanski, Baltic Pipe could be a new "window to the world of gas" for Poland. The pipeline could ensure “diversified gas supplies, especially non-Russian gas”, to the domestic market, which is still highly dependent on supplies from Moscow.

A possible alternative to Nord Stream 2

Szymanski had previously said that Poland and Demark are expecting a clear position from the European Commission regarding Nord Stream 2. According to Szymanski, Polish Prime Minister Szydlo and her Danish counterpart Rasmussen have long held constant talks on the gas pipeline issue. Poland and Demark, in addition to Norway, support an alternative project, in some respects, to Nord Stream 2, namely Baltic Pipe, which is expected to connect the three countries through an underwater pipeline by 2022, the year in which the gas supply agreement between Poland and Russian energy giant Gazprom will expire. However, as stated by Marek Grobarczyk, Polish Minister of Maritime Economy, Warsaw intends to prevent the development of Nord Stream 2, a project aimed at doubling the gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. Speaking to a Polish public radio broadcaster, Grobarczyk said that the German-Russian gas pipeline contradicts the principle according to which what is not beneficial to all EU countries, cannot be useful for an individual country. Poland has since been one of the main opponents to the gas pipeline project, which plans to bypass Central and Eastern Europe, supplying Russian gas directly to Germany.

Doha and Washington supply Warsaw

On two occasions, in 2001 and 2007, attempts were made to connect Norwegian deposits with the Polish distribution system, but, in both cases, negotiations failed, due to Warsaw’s concerns regarding Norwegian gas costs. Polish company PGNiG, which manages all gas and oil exploitation activities, and is the key stakeholder in the project, currently operates in Norway, extracting approximately half a billion cubic meters of gas. The company’s goal is to reach 2-2.5 billion cubic meters by 2022 and promote the energy diversification policy launched in Poland. In its attempt to reduce its dependence on Russian gas, in 2015, Poland began importing LNG from Qatar and, earlier this week, received its first gas supply from the United States.