Gas Interconnection Poland-Lithuania (GIPL), a gas pipeline connecting Lithuania and Poland, was launched on Sunday, May 1. Vilnius officials say this marks a key milestone in the region’s energy independence from Russian gas.
“Today, it [gas] has been transported towards Poland, but depending on the needs of market participants, it 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,” said Nemunas Biknius, CEO of Lithuania’s gas transmission system operator Amber Grid.
Completed in Lithuania earlier this year, the 508-kilometre GIPL gas pipeline connected Lithuania, the other Baltic countries and Finland’s gas market with the European Union via Poland. The pipeline stretches 165 kilometres in Lithuania and 343 kilometres in Poland.
The GIPL project was implemented by Amber Grid, Lithuania’s gas transmission system operator, together with Polish gas transmission system operator Gaz-System. The steel pipes for the pipeline in Lithuania were supplied by Polish company Izostal for 26.4 million euros, excluding VAT, and the pipeline was built by Alvora together with Šiaulių Dujotiekio Statyba for about 80 million euros.
According to the EurActiv news website in Brussels, the pipeline will supply Poland with two billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year, covering 10 percent of Poland’s yearly demand, and reaching its full capacity in October.
When Lithuania, Poland and the European Commission signed the GIPL financing agreement in October 2015, Jean-Claude Juncker, then head of the European Commission, called it a historic moment. Dalia Grybauskaitė, then president of Lithuania, said it was a decisive step in the creation of an EU energy union.
The GIPL’s official opening ceremony will take place in Lithuania on May 5, attended by the Lithuanian, Polish and Latvian presidents, the EU energy commissioner and Baltic and Polish ministers.