The Czech and Polish Prime Ministers agreed to continue a gas interconnection project – Stork II – between the two countries. A co-financing proposal under the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility will now be resubmitted to obtain the necessary funds, EurActiv reported.
The interconnector should be operational by 2020, according to a memorandum signed by Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and olish counterpart Beata Szydło during the Visegrad 4 summit in Krynica in September.
Stork II is designed as part of the so-called North-South gas interconnection which should contribute to the development of natural gas markets in central and eastern Europe, bringing increased security of supplies and diversifying supply routes.
The construction of the pipeline has also had a long-term support of the EU. In 2013, and 2016 again, it has been included among EU Projects of Common Interests (PCI) which are considered important for energy security of the entire Union.
EurActiv.cz reports that hesitation was due to Polish concerns about the extension of the Nord Stream pipeline intended to double the capacity of gas brought from Russia to Germany, and the planned construction of the subsequent Eugal pipeline from Germany to the Czech Republic.
If these projects are implemented the interconnection with Poland would open another route for Russian gas into Poland.
Warsaw wants to build access to three different sources of gas. In June, the LNG terminal in Świnoujście was put into operation. By the end of 2020, Poland would also like to have a new pipeline bringing gas from Norway.
“It brings an end to speculations about problems in our cooperation,” Polish State Secretary for European Affairs Konrad Szymański was quoted by portal BiznesAlert.pl.
For the operators of transmission systems (TSOs) in the Czech Republic (Net4Gas) and Poland (Gaz-System) the memorandum means they should prepare further steps for the pipeline implementation.
“We appreciate that the situation for the Stork II project implementation seems to be more clear at the moment with the political support expressed in the memorandum,” EurActiv was told by Michael Kehr, the Head of Strategy at Net4Gas.
However, a new implementation date also means that the project must apply again for EU co-financing, which has been already promised since last September.
The European Commission decided to allocate a grant of €63 million for the project. The sum should have been granted from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) which supports construction of key transport, energy and digital networks in the EU.