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    Poland Opens Precursor of Pipe to Croatia


Polish state Gaz-System has opened a 14km pipe that it says forms part of what ultimately will be part of a gas pipe connecting it to Croatia.

by: Mark Smedley

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Poland Opens Precursor of Pipe to Croatia

Poland's state-owned gas grid operator, Gaz-System, said it opened September 12 a 14-km section of pipe that forms part of what ultimately will be part of a gas pipe connection between the country and Croatia's planned LNG terminal at Krk.

The line runs from Czeshow to Wierzchowice in the Lower Silesian province of southwest Poland, near the country's border with the Czech Republic. It cost zloty 91mn ($25.7mn) to build, half of which was covered by EU grants. 

Gaz-System said the new pipe is part of the western North-South gas corridor that will bring together transmission infrastructure in central Europe.

The bi-directional North-South corridor, which will be considerably more expensive, will link Poland's LNG terminal at Swinoujscie – along with the planned Baltic Pipe – through southern Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, to the planned LNG terminal in Croatia. The Krk LNG project has recently tendered for the ship that will form its Krk floating LNG import terminal.

"The Czeshow-Wierzchowice gas pipeline brings us closer to that goal," said Gaz-System vice president Artur Zawartko. Gaz-System's 2015-25 investment programme envisages laying over 2,000 km of new gas pipelines in the western, southern and eastern parts of Poland.


Rationale of Gaz-System's North-South corridor project (Map credit: Gaz-System / Twitter)

Gas company critics say that Europe needs new Russian supply infrastructure like Nord Stream 2, and Hungary has said it will not wait for Krk or similar schemes' development but instead will link into Gazprom's TurkStream project. The Polish-Croatian strategy enjoys EU financial backing and is eyeing the current global LNG glut, and US political support, to underpin it commercially.

In other news, Poland's state-run gas importer PGNiG plans to demand zloty 70mn ($19.72mn) from former managers including its CEO in 2012-13, Grazyna Piotrowska-Oliwa, for alleged irregularities over pricing of natural gas sold by PGNiG, reported newspaper Dziennik Gazeta Prawna on September 12, citing sources.


Mark Smedley