A new operational pipeline between Poland and Lithuania is to cover 10 percent of Poland's gas demand. Russia had turned off Poland's gas tap because it was not paying its gas bill in rubles. That is why the interconnection is important, said EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson on May 5 at the official commissioning in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. It is also a further step towards integrating the Baltic region into the European energy market.
Gas has already been flowing to Poland through the 508-kilometer Gas Interconnection Poland-Lithuania (GIPL) pipeline, which has a capacity of around 2 billion cubic meters. However, the three Baltic states are also no longer receiving Russian gas. They had recently imposed an import ban on Russian natural gas. However, they are obviously not as dependent on Russian gas as Poland. Lithuania, for example, can more than meet its gas needs through its floating LNG terminal in Klaipeda.
The new pipeline is part of a comprehensive plan, called "BEMIP" (Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan), to link the European countries bordering the Baltic Sea. A connection between Finland and Estonia, the "Balticconnector" has been in operation since January 2020 and a connection between Lithuania and Latvia ("Viresi-Tallinn Pipeline") has already been in operation since 1992. The latter is to be expanded by 2023. A natural gas pipeline from Denmark through the Baltic Sea to Poland ("Baltic Pipe") is scheduled to be operational in October and will then transport up to 10 billion cubic meters of Norwegian natural gas per year from the Europipe II pipeline to Poland.
The pipeline between Poland and Lithuania (GIPL) is a project of pan-European interest (PCI) and has therefore received subsidies from the EU budget (Connecting Europe Facility) of around €266 million.