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Natural-Gas Pipeline Between Poland and Czech Republic Opens

A natural-gas pipeline connecting Poland and the Czech Republic with capacity of 500 million cubic meters a year opened today, according to the country’s pipeline operator, Gaz System.

The 32-kilometer (20-mile) link, built jointly with Czech company Net4Gas, follows a European Union strategy to connect energy markets. Poland is also seeking pipeline connections before it starts a liquefied natural gas terminal on the Baltic Sea coast in 2014.

“The two companies are considering increasing the capacity of the interconnector to 2.5 billion cubic meters per year and enabling it to ship gas in both directions, given its role in integrating and liberalizing gas markets in this part of Europe,” Gaz System said in a statement posted on its website.

In January, the company will expand its existing link with Germany by 600 million cubic meters a year, said Malgorzata Polkowska, a Warsaw-based spokeswoman for Gaz System. Contracts to ship gas via the larger pipeline will be signed this month, she said.

The company received a record 28 offers from potential importers, including European gas traders, chemical producers and energy utilities for the additional capacity on the German border connection. The operator also plans to build gas connections with Slovakia and Lithuania.

Earlier this month, Poland’s Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA said that its joint venture with Verbundnetz Gas AG was studying building another link to Germany.

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