RIGA - The new Polish-Lithuanian gas link will contribute to the security of all three Baltic states and Finland, Latvian President Egils Levits believes.
Elina Kresa, head of the president's press office, told LETA that Levits on Thursday participated in the GIPL opening ceremony in Jauniinai near the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. The Latvian president indicated that the launch of the gas pipeline is a significant moment not only for Lithuania and Poland, but the whole Baltic region and Finland.
"This is a historic event in the interests of whole Europe. In this way are helping to strengthen Europe's energy security. We are proving that we are a safe growth region of Europe and securing our political and economic future and prosperity," the Latvian president said.
Levits said that energy security has to be strengthened and energy sources diversified so that Europe became more secure and independent from various unpredictable events. Latvia looks forwards to the completion of other regional gas infrastructure projects in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Poland, the president said.
The Latvian president noted that the underground gas storage facility in Incukalns near Riga will also be playing a significant role in strengthening the region's energy independence. The Incukalns facility can play an important role by accumulating larger volumes of gas in periods when the gas price is low and use them when the price goes up. The strategically important Incukalns facility is now linked with whole Europe through Lithuania, through its gas interconnection with Poland.
Latvian Economics Minister Janis Vitenbergs (National Alliance) said at the GIPL opening ceremony that the launch of the Polish-Lithuanian gas link demonstrates the solidarity of the region's countries and their resolve to tackle event the most complex issues to strengthen the region's energy independence.
"To achieve our common goal - the strengthening of the region's gas market and security of gas supply - we still have to complete other regional gas infrastructure projects in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, as well as Finland and Poland," Vitenbergs said.
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.