Leaders of Norway, Denmark, and Poland officially launched the Baltic Pipe natural gas pipeline on Tuesday.

The Baltic Pipe runs from the Norwegian shelf to Poland via Denmark and the Baltic Sea. Two pipe sections, developed separately by Danish gas and electricity transmission system operator Energinet, and Polish gas transmission system operator Gaz-System, meet at a compressor station in Denmark. 

It could import up to 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas from Norway to Poland and three bcm of gas from Poland to Denmark annually. 

In April, Poland was cut off from the Russian gas supply via the Yamal-Europe pipeline as it refused to pay in roubles. Hence, the new link could act as a significant move toward reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. 

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki remarked during the ceremony: “The era of Russian domination in the field of gas is coming to an end; the era of blackmail, threats, and extortion.”

According to Reuters, PGNiG , a Polish oil and gas company, plans to import at least 6.5 bcm of natural gas from Norway through the new Baltic pipeline in 2023. 

On Friday, Norway’s Equinor signed a 10-year agreement to supply 2.4 bcm of natural gas to Poland’s PGNiG per year, which is 15% of Poland’s yearly consumption. 

Iwona Waksmundzka-Olejniczak, President of the Management Board of PGNiG said: “Equinor is a strategic business partner for the PGNiG Group, which is in line with the policy of diversifying gas supplies to Poland. 

The signed contracts for the supply of gas, which will be sent through the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline, significantly strengthen the energy security of our country.”

Irene Rummelhoff, Equinor’s Vice President for marketing, midstream and processing said: Equinor has been a multi-source energy supplier and a key gas supplier to Europe for 45 years. Thanks to the gas supply contracts signed with PGNiG, we can also strengthen our position as a reliable partner for Poland.”

Terje Aasland, Norway’s Energy Minister, called it “an important step on the important road to Europe’s independence from Russian energy.” 

The pipeline construction project, supported by the Trans-European Networks for Energy, aims to link EU countries’ energy infrastructure. 

The project has received approximately $254.55mn in EU funding through the Connecting Europe Facility. This has helped complete essential preparatory research and construction works.

Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy, said: “The Baltic Pipe is a key project for the security of supply of the region and the result of an EU policy drive to diversify sources of gas. The pipeline will play a valuable role in mitigating the current energy crisis.”

The launch came after Danish and Swedish authorities discovered several gas leaks on the Russian-operated Nord Stream pipelines, raising concerns about sabotage.