The Gas Interconnection Poland-Lithuania (GIPL), which was scheduled to be opened in mid-2022, has been completed ahead of schedule and will go online in May, Polish system operator Gaz-System announced Monday.
The natural gas link between Lithuania and Poland will be opened on May 1, Gaz-System said on Monday. GIPL was originally slated to begin work around the middle of this year. Construction on the pipeline began in January 2020 and was completed on December 31 of last year.
The first auctions for gas capacity will take place in April already, to ship available fuel in either direction from May to September.
This is a critical event for Estonia, as the new connection with Europe should reduce the country's natural gas dependence on Russia, increase competition on the Estonian gas market as well as mean greater security of natural gas supply, Estonian transmission system operator (TSO) Elering told ERR.
"How much gas will start coming from there is difficult to forecast, as that will depend on market participants' wish to transport gas," Elering spokesperson Elo Ellermaa said. "Capacity is one thing, but gas supply volumes will be dictated by the market."
According to Lithuanian TSO AmberGrid, the new connection will allow for the shipment of up to 27 terawatt-hours of natural gas per year into the Baltics and up to 21 terawatt-hours of gas per year in the opposite direction.
The new pipeline is the first to connect Finland and the Baltics' gas networks to the EU gas network. Until now, natural gas could only be supplied to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland by pipeline via Russia.
"This will also enable access to Poland's LNG terminal as well, for example, which is currently working at maximum capacity," Ellermaa explained.
The GIPL pipeline is 508 kilometers long, including 165 kilometers on Lithuanian territory. The gas link cost nearly €500 million to build, 60 percent of which was funded via the European Commission. Estonian and Latvian TSOs likewise contributed to the costs.
The gas pipeline begins near Vilnius and terminates at the gas compressor station in Holowczyce, Poland.
Editor: Aili Vahtla