New Poland-Slovakia gas link boosts Europe's energy security
STRACHOCINA, (Reuters) - A new gas pipeline between Poland and Slovakia officially commissioned on August 26 will boost energy security in Europe, the prime ministers of Poland and Slovakia.
"This investment delivers supply security to our western neighbours, to the whole of Europe," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a news briefing.
Being able to pipe liquefied natural gas (LNG) and natural gas from Norway via Poland to Slovakia will boost the country's "energy freedom", said Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger.
The pipeline was aimed at giving central European more supply security and diversity to reduce dependence on Russia even before its invasion of Ukraine in February, becomes a crucial north-south link, as Russia cuts deliveries to Europe.
The link, via the Polish system, provides connection to Poland's Swinoujscie LNG terminal and global LNG markets and gas sources in Norway via the Baltic pipeline set to open this year.
For Poland, it offers access to potential southern supply routes via Croatia and Italy, Morawiecki said.
Auctions for capacity to ship the fuel via the pipeline are set to begin soon after commissioning formalities are completed but contracting affordable gas for the link may be a challenge amid soaring gas prices in Europe.
"Now, the immense challenge for the pipeline operators for the coming few months, will be to fill it with safe and affordable gas," Polish Climate Minister Anna Moskwa told the briefing. (Reporting by Marek Strzelecki, Pawel Florkiewicz and Jason Hovet; Editing by Jason Neely, Robert Birsel)