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Lithuania-Poland gas pipeline linking Baltic states, Finland to EU launched

Christian Fernsby |
The Gas Interconnection Poland-Lithuania (GIPL) pipeline worth about 500 million euros has been launched on May 1, the BNS news agency said.

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According to the operator of the natural gas transportation system, Lithuania's Amber Grid, the first physical and commercial gas flows were transmitted via the new pipeline on Sunday, Interfax/BNS reported.

The 508-kilometer GIPL connecting Poland and Lithuania "effectively expands the European gas market by integrating the Baltic States and Finland," Amber Grid said. "Two auctions for the initial gas transmission capacity on the GIPL pipeline held in the second half of April demonstrated interest in the use of GIPL pipeline," it said.

A small capacity towards Lithuania was sold at the first auction on April 19, and a third of the GIPL technical capacities toward Poland was sold on the second auction on April 27, the company said.

The auctions were hosted by the GSA Platform for booking capacities enabling participants of the gas market to book gas transportation capacities together in the Lithuanian and Polish systems. The capacity auctions will be organized every day after the GIPL pipeline is launched.

"For the first time in the history of the countries, after a long period of implementation of the GIPL interconnection, gas flows through the GIPL pipeline. Today, gas is transported to Poland, but depending on the needs of market, gas will be transported to both - Lithuania and Poland.

"This is a milestone in the history of the development of energy independence between Lithuania and Poland, especially in the context of security of gas supply," Amber Grid CEO Nemunas Biknius said.

The official opening ceremony of the GIPL pipeline will take place in Lithuania on May 5. The presidents of Lithuania, Poland and Latvia, the European commissioner for energy, the energy ministers from the Baltic states and Poland, heads of the gas transmission system operators of Lithuania and Poland which implemented the project are invited to the ceremony.

The gas pipeline whose laying in Lithuania was finished in the beginning of the year links the gas markets of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland to the European Union. The pipeline is 508 kilometers long, including 165 kilometers in Lithuania and 434 kilometers in Poland, BNS said.

By September 30, when this gas year ends, the pipeline's permanent gas transportation capacity will reach 230,000 cubic meters per hour or 2.6 Gigawatt per hour which corresponds to 2 billion cubic meters a year or about 22 Terawatt per hour a year.

Amber Grid implemented the GIPL project alongside Poland's Gaz-System natural gas transmission system operator. The Polish company Izostal supplied steel pipes for the gas pipeline in Lithuania worth 26.4 million euro without VAT, and the Alvora company, alongside Siauliu Dujotiekio Statyba, performed the pipe-laying for about 80 million euros.


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