From Denmark to Portugal, Europe ups effort to quit Russian gas

MIDDELFART, Denmark (AFP) – In Denmark, giant black pipes are about to be buried in a muddy trench, as development of a gas pipeline from Norway to Poland resumes following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

From plans for liquefied pure gas terminals in northern Germany, Finland and France to potential new routes by way of Spain and the Mediterranean, Europe is striving to rid itself of its dependence on Russian gas, although consultants say the duty will take years to full.

In Middelfart in central Denmark, work resumed final month on the Baltic Pipe undertaking, a deliberate 900km hyperlink, primarily supposed to assist Poland cut back its dependence on Russian pure gas.

“Of course it’s also to have the gas in the Danish system but mainly also to help our good neighbours’ gas systems and our Polish good friends,” Soren Juul Larsen, head of the undertaking at Danish power infrastructure operator Energinet, informed AFP in English.

Just per week after the invasion of Ukraine, the Danish environmental authority – which had issues in regards to the undertaking’s affect on native populations of mice and bats – granted a allow to proceed development, after a nine-month suspension.

“The pipeline was stopped because of a lack of permissions concerning the protection of nature and rare species,” Trine Villumsen Berling, a researcher on the Danish Institute for International Studies, informed AFP.

“We were expecting it to soon be approved but of course the war made it a more pressing issue,” Villumsen mentioned.

Not sufficient for all

Envisioned nearly 20 years in the past, development of the partly submerged pipeline started in 2018. It is now anticipated to begin operations in October, earlier than turning into absolutely operational on January 1, 2023.

“We really have a good cooperation with all contractors to speed up (and) do whatever we can to protect the schedule,” Juul Larsen defined throughout a go to to the development website.

With an annual transport capability of 10 billion cubic metres of gas, the pipeline ought to cowl round 50 per cent of consumption by Poland, which introduced three years in the past it will finish its contract with Russian large Gazprom in 2022.

While this can be excellent news for Poland, it might spell hassle for different European international locations searching for to free themselves of Russian gas.

Norway, Europe’s second-largest gas provider after Russia, is delivering at full capability, so extra gas to Poland means much less for the remainder of the continent.

“This project would help out Poland but may lead to less Norwegian gas exports to the UK and Germany,” Zongqiang Luo, an professional at analysis agency Rystad Energy, informed AFP.

In addition, many long-term contracts between Russia and European suppliers are legitimate for an additional 10 to 15 years, he famous.

While the European Union has resisted calls to ban Russian gas instantly, it has introduced plans to slash imports by two thirds this yr and eradicate them completely earlier than the top of the last decade.

With Norway at full capability, Dutch and British fields in decline, and Russian gas declared undesirable, Europe is in search of gas from additional away, together with liquefied pure gas (LNG) transported by ship from the US, Qatar and Africa.

But such imports require the development of huge LNG terminals to flip it again into gas or, on the very least, the acquisition of so-called floating storage regasification items (FSRUs).


As the entry into service of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia has been suspended, Germany has urgently relaunched three LNG terminal initiatives beforehand thought-about to be of low precedence.

One is anticipated to be accomplished within the winter of 2023-24 however the different two not earlier than 2026.

Finland and Estonia final week introduced a undertaking to lease an import terminal ship. Estonia and the opposite two Baltic international locations say they’ve stopped importing Russian gas since April 1.

In southern Europe, Spain and Portugal are strengthening an alternate provide route to assist Europe wean itself off Russian gas.

To this finish, the port of Sines, Portugal’s largest, plans to double the capability of its gas terminal in below two years.

Spain, which is linked to Algeria through a pipeline and has huge LNG terminals, might present one other provide possibility for Europe however this is able to require main work to enhance connections with the remainder of the EU, notably through France.

Another possibility into consideration is to join Europe to the gas from the japanese Mediterranean, the place giant reserves have been found off Israel and Cyprus over the previous 20 years.

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