Estonia's European Commissioner Kadri Simson (Center) was present at the recent grand opening of a new natural gas pipeline connecting Poland and Lithuania, and with it the rest of the Baltic States.
The connection, whose construction was largely EU-funded and cost around €500 million, will help reduce energy dependence on the Russian Federation.
Simson, who has the energy portfolio at the European Commission, joined the heads of state of Lithuania, Latvia and Poland at the ceremony, which took place Thursday.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda noted that the pipeline brings further energy independence from Russia, while President of Poland Andrzej Duda, said the cooperation came in response to Russian blackmail in relation to its supply of natural gas to the west.
The 500-km pipeline runs from Jaunuina, near Vilnius, to Holowczyce in eastern Poland.
The pipeline already started operating on April 30, ahead of Thursday's opening ceremony, and should be fully operational by October this year, by that time channeling around 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas – 10 percent of Poland's annual demand – in both directions, ERR reports.
With the Baltconnector pipeline running between Estonia and Finland as well, both countries, along with Latvia, now have access to the European gas network, while Lithuania also has a floating Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal at Klaipeda.
Plans for a similar terminal which could alternate between the Finnish coast and Paldiski, in Estonia, are in place and an agreement between the two countries is in place, though at the time of writing have faltered on the Estonian side after the state owned grid distributor Elering was unable to come to an agreement with private fuel company Alexela and holding company Infortar.
Poland plans further natural gas pipelines in the coming years, including one which would link it to Norway and would run under the Baltic Sea.
Work on the controversial NordStream 2 gas pipeline, which would have linked Germany to the Russian Federation, was halted shortly after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Editor: Andrew Whyte