June 4, 2018 / 9:37 AM / in 19 days

Poland confident of meeting 2022 deadline for completing gas link to Norway

WARSAW, June 4 (Reuters) - Poland is confident of meeting a 2022 deadline for completing a new Baltic Sea gas pipeline to Norway, a government official said, despite a report that the project could be delayed.

The Polish tabloid Fakt reported last week that the Baltic Pipe project, which will connect Poland to Norwegian gas deposits via Denmark and aims to reduce Polish reliance on Russian gas, had been delayed.

However, the Polish official responsible for gas and power infrastructure, Piotr Naimski, said on Monday that the project, estimated to cost between 1.6 billion and 2.1 billion euros ($1.9-$2.5 billion), was on track.

“The Baltic Pipe project is being conducted without delays. A construction agreement will be signed by the end of this year and this will be equal to a final investment decision,” Naimski told reporters. “There are no threats to the deadline.”

The final route of the pipeline will be known in June, Naimski said.

Construction of the pipeline, with capacity of 10 billion cubic metres per year, is set to begin in spring 2020, he said.

Polish state-run gas firm PGNiG buys most of the gas Poland consumes from Russia’s Gazprom under a long-term deal set to expire in 2022. Poland does not intend to extend the contract beyond that date.

In other attempts to diversify sources of supply, Poland opened its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the Baltic Sea, which it plans to expand, and PGNiG has been buying more and more gas from sources other than Gazprom. ($1 = 0.8541 euros) (Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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