VILNIUS - The launch of the gas link between Lithuania and Poland (GIPL) is a significant event which in the future will prevent Russia from blackmailing its neighbor countries, Polish President Andrzej Duda said at the GIPL's opening ceremony in Jauniinai near the Lithuanian capital Vilnius on Thursday.
Duda said during the event that "the interconnector between the natural gas transmission systems of Poland and Lithuania" as well as those of the two other Baltic states, Latvia and Estonia, was a response to "another blackmail attempt" by Russia involving gas supplies.
"Thanks to projects such as this, we provide ourselves with an alternative, the possibility of deliveries from markets other than Russia," he added. "I am glad that this interconnector will serve us and to a large extent ensure diversification for other European Union countries," Duda also said.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said at the ceremony that the launch of GIPL is an example that some energy projects can be implemented faster than planned, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Thursday and reiterated his call for the Baltic power grids to be connected to continental Europe faster than by the end of 2025, as now planned.
"The GIPL installation example shows that, if we are willing and if we have strong political will, we could implement projects earlier than expected," Nauseda told reporters after the official GIPL launch ceremony.
The GIPL could serve as an example for faster power synchronization with continental Europe, he said.
"It's a good example for the synchronization project. It could be implemented even earlier than expected, perhaps as early as the first quarter of 2024. Of course, I am not referring to the Harmony Link, but to the LitPol Link which creates all necessary preconditions for the isolated mode operation much earlier," Nauseda said.
Nauseda has numerous times called for faster connection to European power networks and disconnection from Russia and Belarus as soon as possible, without waiting until 2025 when the synchronization project will be completed.
Latvian President Egils Levits stressed in his speech that GIPL is a "big step towards energy independence" and also noted the significance of the underground gas storage facility in Incukalns near Riga.
The 508-kilometre GIPL pipeline will ultimately have the capacity to carry 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from Lithuania to Poland and 2.5 billion cubic meters the other way.
The Baltic states also plan to synchronize their power systems with mainland Europe and disconnect from the post-Soviet BRELL ring by the end of 2025. However, necessary tests as well as the installation of a 200 MW battery and the Harmony Link maritime link still need to be completed.