On October 9, 2019, “Oil – Gas – Chemistry 2019” conference was held in Warsaw. The conference was attended by representatives of Polish and foreign companies in the oil and gas and petrochemical industries. The conference was mainly devoted to consideration of intensive energy reforms. According to the participants of the event, the revolution in shale oil and gas production in the USA, which created new opportunities for energy independence of the countries of Eastern Europe, is a stimulating factor of fundamental changes and development of new energy projects.
Analyzing the statement of Piotr Naimski, the Government Plenipotentiary for Strategic Energy Infrastructure, competition in energy transportation will significantly intensify between countries in the near future. The position of those countries integrated with gas interconnectors and possessing diversified sources of natural gas supply will be stronger.
On September 6, 2019, the Polish gas transportation system operator GAZ-SYSTEM began construction of the Polish part of the “Poland-Slovakia” gas interconnector between the Polish Strachocina gas compressor station in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship and the Slovak Velké Kapušany gas compressor station.
The project involves the construction of a gas metering station on the Polish side, with a total gas interconnector capacity of 5.7 billion cubic meters of gas per year to Poland and 4.7 billion cubic meters of gas per year towards Slovakia. The “Poland-Slovakia” gas interconnector project is a part of the North-South European gas corridor and has been financially supported by the Connecting Europe Facility program since 2018, when the construction of the Slovak part of the 103 km gas pipeline was started.
The commissioning of both parts of the pipeline with a total length of 162 km (59 km on the Polish side and 103 km on the Slovak side) is planned for 2021.
International experts point out that the construction of the gas interconnector will enhance Poland’s energy independence from Russian gas supplies. Along with the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline, the LNG terminal in Świnoujście, this investment project will enhance Poland’s energy security and will help to create a competitive gas market in Eastern Europe.
In addition, the construction of the “Poland-Slovakia” gas interconnector may undermine market conditions for the launch of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in 2021. The commissioning of the pipeline will create the conditions for increasing the volume of gas transportation from the Baltic Pipe or LNG terminal in Świnoujście to the border with Ukraine.
According to Tomasz Stepien, the executive director of the Polish GAZ-SYSTEM, the main aim of the project is to organize the access of Central and Eastern European countries to various sources of gas supply in the EU.
According to experts, in 2022, after the end of Poland’s gas contract with Russian Gazprom, Poland will be able to use 16-17 billion cubic meters of gas of non-Russian origin, including 4 billion cubic meters of gas of Poland’s own production. Implementation of Poland-Slovakia gas interconnection projects, Baltic Pipe and modernization of the LNG Swinoujscie terminal, along with the involvement of Ukraine’s gas storage infrastructure, could create a unique opportunity for Poland to form an Eastern European gas hub, which will have several sources of natural gas supply, the respective marketing infrastructure, and the ability to form an indicative gas price for Central and Eastern European countries.