Poland, Denmark agree Baltic Sea gas pipeline

EU partners Poland and Denmark have agreed to build a natural gas pipeline along the Baltic Sea floor to supply Poles with Norwegian gas as they seek to ease heavy dependence on Russian supplies.

Poland, Denmark agree Baltic Sea gas pipeline
Unrelated file photo. Photo: JENS BÜTTNER/Ritzau Scanpix)

Under the plan, the 900 kilometre-long Baltic Pipe project is due to be pumping gas to Poland via Danish territory by 2022 when Warsaw's contract with Russia's Gazprom is set to end.

“Today we managed to make a quantum leap towards the security and independence of Poland's energy sector,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said onTwitter confirming the deal on Friday.

“An investment decision was made to build the strategic Baltic Pipe gas pipeline that will enable gas to be imported from the Norwegian Shelf via Denmark,” he added, referring to the deal announced by Polish and Danish state-owned gas grid operators.

Poland's GAZ-SYSTEM SA and Danish Energinet SOV announced on Friday they had worked out a deal on the pipeline to put “into service all its elements until October 1st, 2022” with a capacity of up to 10 billion cubic meters a year.

They added that the “project already received EU financial support of 51.4 million euros from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)” but did not disclose an overall cost in their statement.

Earlier this month, Poland signed its second multi-decade agreement deal for US liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries in an effort to wean itself off its heavy reliance on Russia amid tensions with Moscow.

Poland, which currently sources about two-thirds of its gas from Kremlin-backed Russian energy giant Gazprom, is also eyeing imports from Norway and Qatar.

READ ALSO: Embattled Nord Stream 2 seeks to skirt Danish veto


Denmark’s Nord Stream green light ‘weakens Europe’: Ukraine president

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky slammed on Thursday Denmark's decision to grant a Russian gas project a building permit, saying it "strengthens Russia and weakens Europe."

Denmark's Nord Stream green light 'weakens Europe': Ukraine president
Nord Stream 2 pipeline being laid in the Baltic Sea. Photo: Stine Jacobsen/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

On Wednesday, Copenhagen gave Russia's Nord Stream 2 project a permit to build a section of the natural gas pipeline on the Danish continental shelf in the Baltic Sea.

The 9.5-billion-euro pipeline led by Gazprom has raised fears that Moscow will be able to increase pressure on Ukraine as Europe will be less reliant on the ex-Soviet country for transiting supplies.

“We understand that this is not just a matter of energy security, it is a geopolitical issue,” Zelensky said during a joint news conference with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

“Therefore I will tell you frankly that this strengthens Russia and weakens Europe,” Zelensky added.

The 41-year-old president, who came to power in May, said, however, that Ukraine was “ready for such a decision.”

“We understood this could happen,” he said.

The Baltic energy link will double the capacity to ship gas between Russia and Germany, sparking concerns about Western Europe's increasing dependence on Russian gas.

Nord Stream 2's proponents — led by Germany, the EU's biggest economy — say the pipeline will provide reliable supplies at an acceptable price.

But US President Donald Trump has threatened to hit Nord Stream 2 and those tied to it with sanctions, saying it makes Germany “a hostage to Russia.”

Most of Russia's gas destined for Europe passes through Ukraine.

Ukraine wants to remain a major transit route for Russian gas while Moscow seeks to send more gas to Europe via pipelines bypassing Ukraine.

Ties between Ukraine and Russia were shredded after a bloody uprising ousted a Kremlin-backed regime in 2014.

Moscow went on to annex Crimea and support insurgents in eastern Ukraine in a conflict that has killed some 13,000 people.

READ ALSO: Denmark clears way for Russian gas pipeline