Denmark, Poland Will Have to Agree with Gazprom on Baltic Pipeline

Poland’s gas transport operator Gaz-System and Denmark’s Energinet will have to make an additional agreement with Russia’s Gazprom on their joint project, Baltic Pipe gas conduit to reduce Poland’s dependence on Russian gas, Rossiyskaya Gazeta writes.

The project is aimed at reducing the two countries’ reliance on Russian energy. But the pipeline could cross paths with Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 in the Baltic Sea, which means that Poland may find itself even more dependent on Russia though experts believe that Gazprom will not abuse its position.

Poland, which has been buying pipeline gas from Russia since 1944, regularly announces plans to end these purchases. The current contract will expire in 2022 and Warsaw expects that LNG and Norwegian supplies will replace Gazprom’s share. The Baltic Pipe Project is planned to transport Norwegian gas from the North Sea continental shelf via Denmark.

If the pipeline routes cross, operators will indeed have to come to an agreement, and not only with each other. Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 are major high-pressure gas pipelines and the integrity of their infrastructure is guaranteed by rules concerning protected zones, Executive Partner at the Pravo and Biznes firm Alexander Pakhomov told the Russian newspaper.

Any works that may damage pipelines are banned within such zones. If routes cross, a need will arise to request permission from the Nord Stream 2 AG and the relevant country’s authorities.

“In theory, Gazprom can block the implementation of the Baltic Pipe project along the current route, pointing out that the already existing pipeline may suffer damage while a new one is being built. But technically, such a crossing is not an insurmountable obstacle, provided the parties make an agreement. If a crossing between the two major pipelines is inevitable, then the Polish and Danish companies need to immediately start investing into the development of technological decisions to resolve this issue instead of speculating about how Gazprom will surely block their project,” Pakhomov said.