Speaking at the event in Goleniów in Poland's northwestern Zachodniopomorskie province, President Andrzej Duda said: "Today we are opening a gas pipeline that has been a Polish dream for decades as we strive to be independent of gas supplies from Russia."
Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks at the launch of the undersea Baltic Pipe gas pipeline, which aims to connect Poland with Norwegian gas fields via Denmark. Photo: PAP/Marcin Bielecki
He added: "This is a great day for Poland, for Denmark, for Norway, for the entire European Union; it is a great day for our part of Europe to build security and peace and to strengthen sovereignty."
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the opening of the new gas link marked "the end of an era of Russian domination in the gas sector ... an era that was marred by blackmail, threats and extortion."
"Today we are entering a new era, one of energy sovereignty, energy freedom and increased security," he added.
Those taking part in the ceremony included Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Norway's Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Aasland, and the European Commission's Director General for Energy, Ditte Juul Jørgensen, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
The Baltic Pipe, which is part of Warsaw’s efforts to diversify gas supplies and end the country’s energy dependence on Russia, is due to start operating on October 1, according to officials.
It is ultimately expected to have the capacity to carry 10 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Norway to Poland via Denmark annually.
Photo: PAP/Marcin Bielecki
Russia’s energy giant Gazprom in April suspended gas deliveries to Poland after the country refused to pay in Russian roubles amid Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, according to reports at the time.
The Polish prime minister told reporters earlier this year that his country had sufficient reserves and alternative supply routes after Russia suspended gas supplies under a long-term contract.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in April that Gazprom's decision to stop delivering gas to European customers was "yet another attempt by Russia to use gas as an instrument of blackmail."
The Polish president in 2019 described the Baltic Pipe as “a strategic project for Poland’s energy transformation, as well as for the energy security of the entire Central and Eastern Europe region.”
Source: IAR, PAP, TVP Info
Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Michał Owczarek.