A new pipeline that will carry Norwegian gas via Denmark was inaugurated in Poland on Tuesday in a move to strengthen Europe’s energy security after Russia cut off Warsaw’s supplies.
At a ceremony in western Poland, Norwegian Energy Minister Terje Aasland said it was “a milestone on the important path towards European independence from Russian energy.”
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the pipeline launch “marks a crucial geopolitical step for all of us.”
“We have to do all we can to remove energy as a Russian instrument of power,” she said at the launch in Budno near the city of Szeczin.
Russian President Vladimir “Putin uses Russian energy as a weapon to destabilise Europe, to divide us. He cannot be allowed to succeed,” she added.
Polish President Andrzej Duda called the pipeline “a Polish dream”.
Baltic Pipe has a capacity of 10 billion cubic metres per year and is a link to the Europipe II connecting Norway and Germany.
Polish gas operator PGNiG said in a statement that the gas pipeline would carry 6.5 billion cubic metres of gas in 2023 and this would rise to 7.7 billion in 2024.
Deliveries are to begin on October 1.
Poland earlier this month struck a deal with Norwegian giant Equinor for 2.4 billion metres per year — around 15 percent of its total consumption — from 2023 to 2033.
Poland depended on Russia for around two-thirds of its annual gas consumption just a few years ago but has been reducing its dependence by diversifying energy sources including using liquefied natural gas imports.
This year, Russian giant Gazprom stopped supplies altogether after PGNiG refused to pay its bill in rubles following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Frederiksen also referred to unexplained leaks from the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines linking Russia and Germany detected this week.
“The very concerning events of yesterday with leaks from Nord Stream I and II highlight the urgency of increasing our energy security in Europe,” she said.
Speaking to Danish media, she said it was “hard to imagine” that the three leaks were “accidental”.
“It’s an unusual situation to have three leaks a distance from each other,” she said.
The Baltic Pipe project has been planned for years but has been delayed multiple times.
Construction of the partly submerged 900-kilometre (559-mile) pipeline eventually began in 2018 but work was suspended in 2021 over environmental concerns.
Within days of Russia’s invasion, however, Danish state-owned firm Energinet said work had resumed on the pipeline after the project was granted a new environmental permit.
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