Poland-Slovakia gas grid link 90% complete
The gas grids of Poland and Slovakia are now linked for the first time, the respective transmission system operators (TSOs) said August 4, following a weld linking the two sections of the 164-km interconnector at the border. First gas is expected to flow by Q1 2022 and the line is 90% finished.
Gaz-System of Poland and Eustream of Slovakia are partners in the EU-funded north-south gas corridor intended to increase security of supply as gas from Norway or regasified LNG may now reach Slovakia. Conversely Slovakia will be able to deliver Russian gas to Poland, whose long-term contract with Russia expires at the end of 2022. The line terminates at Velky Kapuszany, formerly a major delivery point for Gazprom's gas.
The pipeline, important enough for energy security for the EU to part-fund it, will be able to transport 4.7bn m³/year to Slovakia and 5.7bn m³/year to Poland. The direction of flow on any day will depend on market conditions at either end of the line. It will allow traders to arbitrage between the two markets.
Slovakia's economy minister Karol Galek said that the link was important not only for the energy security of Slovakia, "but the whole region as well. Although natural gas is a fossil fuel, its role in the energy transition towards low-carbon Europe is indisputable. The line will be able to carry blended methane and hydrogen and is part of the European Hydrogen Backbone initiative.
The two countries are also members of the Three Seas Initiative, linking the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea. The other countries are Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovenia.
Construction works are at a very advanced stage but there are still some "technologically and geologically demanding terrain obstacles" ahead of it, the TSOs said.