Poland and Lithuania launch new gas interconnector

Marcin Obara/PAP

The Polish and Lithuanian presidents have officially opened a new pipeline bringing gas from Lithuania to Poland after Russian gas giant Gazprom turned off the tap.

"Today, this interconnector between Poland and Lithuania is a fact... Russia made another attempt at gas blackmail, it is in some sense a response to it," Polish President Andrzej Duda said at a launch ceremony held on Thursday at the Jauniunai Gas Compressor Station in the Sirvintos district of Lithuania.

Duda added that due to such investments, Poland and Lithuania are able to secure alternative supply routes after Russia halted deliveries on April 27.

"This interconnector, which allows gas to be transmitted in both directions... will allow significant diversification of gas supplies not only for our countries, but also for our neighbours and the EU," Duda said.

Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda said this is a special day not only for Lithuania and Poland, but also for other Baltic countries. "Today, we are strengthening our energy security, our resistance to political pressure, and also to energy blackmail from the East," he said.

Nauseda added that in the short term the gas connection between Poland and Lithuania may also be used to transmit gas to Ukraine.

The Poland-Lithuania Gas Connector (GIPL), under construction since 2020, started operating on May 1. The target capacity of the 508-kilometre-long infrastructure will be 2.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) towards Lithuania and 2 bcm towards Poland, but it will remain limited until the end of September, at 2 bcm towards Lithuania and 1.9 bcm towards Poland.

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