Lithuania and Poland have asked the European Union to cover up to 75% of the costs of a gas link between the two countries, their national gas grid companies said yesterday (21 August).
The link is a part of an EU plan to end the energy dependency of the three ex-Soviet Baltic states, which currently rely on Russia for all of their natural gas imports.
"The submission of a joint applications for the EU support is an important step into the implementation of the project aimed to integrate the isolated gas markets of the Baltic States into the EU gas market," said Saulius Bilys, general manager of Lithuania's gas transmission grid operator, Amber Grid.
The link would also increase the security of natural gas supply and competitiveness of the regional market, he added.
The 500 km link, estimated to cost €558 million, will be able to carry 2.3 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year.
Lithuania plans start importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Norway in 2015, but planned imports will cover only about 20% of consumption.
Poland, which gets most of its natural gas from Russia, also plans to start importing LNG.
The request for EU funding was sent after the European energy agency ACER solved a dispute over its cost distribution.
Baltic states, which will be the main beneficiaries of the gas link, will have to pay €85.8 million in compensation to Poland, which will bear about three-quarters of total costs or €422 million, the agency has ruled.
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia consume about 5 bcm of gas per year.