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Baltic Natural Gas Pipeline Opens, Reducing Europe’s Dependence On Russia

The Baltic Pipe natural gas pipeline from Norway to Poland via Denmark and the Baltic Sea was inaugurated on Tuesday by the leaders of the three countries, who hailed the new gas link as a crucial move to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.  

The Baltic Pipe project, running from the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, crossing Denmark from west to east, and landing in Poland via the Baltic Sea, will bring gas from Norway – a staunch ally of the EU and Western Europe’s largest oil and gas producer – to Poland, which has for years sought to wean itself off Russian energy.

Poland has been warning for years that Russian pipelines to Europe are undermining EU energy security and would be used for blackmail. Poland was one of the biggest opponents of the Nord Stream 2 project for another gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Nord Stream 2 didn’t see the light of day after Germany axed the certification process after Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia, for its part, shut down Nord Stream 1 indefinitely early this month, claiming an inability to repair gas turbines because of the Western sanctions.

The Baltic Pipe will be operational with partial capacity from October 1 and could accelerate full-capacity commissioning to the end of November instead of January 1, 2023, as planned, the Danish national transmission system operator Energinet said this weekend.

During the opening ceremony for the Baltic Pipe on Tuesday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said: “The era of Russian domination in the field of gas is coming to an end, the era that was marked by blackmail, threats and extortion.”

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that “It is vital that we work closely together in Europe to free us from Russian gas as soon as possible. Baltic Pipe is a big step in achieving this.”

On the day of the Baltic Pipe inauguration, Norway and Sweden said they were investigating gas leaks in the Baltic Sea from both Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines from Russia to Germany, with no one ruling out sabotage as the cause of the leaks. Norway heightened its emergency preparedness on Tuesday for infrastructure, onshore, and offshore installations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.  

“Based on the information we have seen so far, much indicates acts of sabotage,” Terje Aasland, the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, said.  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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