Poland made the case for the “North­ern Gate” gas pipe­line project, de­signed to bring gas from the Nor­we­gian shelf across Den­mark to Poland. The Pol­ish govern­ment’s Plenipo­ten­tiary for Strate­gic En­ergy In­fra­struc­ture, Piotr Naim­ski, told a hear­ing in the E

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The project, also known as “Nor­we­gian cor­ri­dor”, aims at bring­ing 10 bil­lion cu­bic me­tres of Nor­we­gian nat­u­ral gas per year (bcm/y) to Poland by 2022. From there, some of the Nor­we­gian gas could be sent to other coun­tries in Cen­tral Europe, such as the Czech Repub­lic, Slo­vakia, Hun­gary, the Baltic states and even Ukraine. Cur­rently, Poland con­sumes 14 bcm/y of gas.

The to­tal amount of 10 bcm/y doesn’t look huge in com­par­i­son with the pro­jected ca­pac­ity of a project Poland op­poses – the North Stream 2 pipe­line, which has a pro­jected ca­pac­ity of 55 bcm/y.

The project’s his­tory dates back to 2009. In 2013 the Com­mis­sion granted the sta­tus of “Project of com­mon in­ter­est” for Baltic Pipe, one of the com­po­nents of the “North­ern Gate”.

In 2015, the Con­nect­ing Europe Fa­cil­ity gave a grant for a fea­si­bil­ity study.

Com­mis­sion Vice-Pres­i­dent in charge En­ergy Union Maros Se­f­covic, who spoke at the hear­ing, said that the “ini­tial thought” of the EU ex­ec­u­tive was that this was a very im­por­tant project. A fea­si­bil­ity study will be ready by the end of the year, and next year, the “open sea­son” will be held, mean­ing that com­mer­cial en­ti­ties will ex­press their in­ter­est in buy­ing gas from the new route.

Naim­ski said that Rus­sian gas in Poland was more ex­pen­sive than in West­ern Euro­pean coun­tries, which are more dis­tant than Poland.

He said that his coun­try wanted se­cu­rity of sup­ply at the lowest pos­si­ble price and that it saw the project as a com­peti­tor to Nord Stream 2, which also aims at sell­ing gas in the Cen­tral Euro­pean market.

The tar­get date for com­plet­ing the project is 2022 and by 2019 Poland wants to reach the “point of no-re­turn” for the com­ple­tion of the project, the Pol­ish of­fi­cial ex­plained. In com­par­i­son, the com­ple­tion of Nord Stream 2 is sched­uled for 2019.

Meet­ings at all po­lit­i­cal lev­els, in­clud­ing at the level of pres­i­dents, have been held with Nor­way and Den­mark over the project, Naim­ski said, adding that on the po­lit­i­cal side, there were no ob­sta­cles for the project.

How­ever, Nor­way’s Am­bas­sador to the EU, Oda He­len Sletnes, em­pha­sised that what was im­por­tant was that the project be com­mer­cially vi­able.

She said Nor­way ex­ported 114 bcm in 2015, the coun­try be­ing the sec­ond largest ex­porter of gas to the EU af­ter Rus­sia, and that the pro­duc­tion is ex­pected to re­main sta­ble for the next 20 years.

To choose the pipe­line op­tion the as­sur­ances, the Nor­we­gian diplo­mat stated.

Vibeke Paster­nak Jor­gensen, Deputy Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Den­mark to the EU, also said that the market should be the main driver in de­ci­sion-mak­ing. The fea­si­bil­ity study will en­able a de­ci­sion on the fu­ture of the project, she said.

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