Q: What are the meanings of Slovakia-Poland gas interconnector for Slovakia?
A: This interconnector has been proposed as one of the measurements to increase Slovak energy security. This argument has been used also when applying for Eu support from Projects of Common Interest list. Diversification has become an important priority for Slovak energy policy following the 2009 gas crisis and this interconnector is one of several projects aiming to increase diversification and thus also energy security of the Slovak Republic. This project is a part of North-South Interconnector project that is fully supported by the Slovak government who has been actively contributing to the project by supporting also other interconnectors, for example the Slovak-Hungarian one.
Q: How does Slovakia looks on Polish plan of creating “Northern gate” by means of building LNG terminal in Świnoujście and Baltic Pipe to import gas from Norway and LNG market and re-sell it down to Central Europe? Is that plan treated in Slovakia as serious opportunities to diversify their gas import portfolio?
A: The Slovak government has been supportive of all diversification efforts that aim to provide alternative sources or import routes of natural gas to Central and Eastern Europe. Given high level of dependency on Russian gas, alternative sources of gas from different countries are especially welcomed. This issue is predominantly connected to
Q: Is energy security still “issue” in Slovakia after building reverse on Brotherhood gas pipeline?
A: Energy security had been an issue for Slovakia even before the 2009 gas crisis.However, Slovak approach to this issue had been rather passive before the crisis. Only after 2009 the country started to actively develop projects aiming at increasing energy security. It managed to create several reverse flows with neighbouring countries (Austria, the Czech Republic and Ukraine) and developed a new interconnector with Hungary. All of these measures have been viewed as contributing to energy security that is still perceived as a challenging issue. With the latest development connected to the Brotherhood pipeline (planned cessation of its use by Gazprom Export after 2019) Slovak government has supported a project by eustream, a.s., Slovak transmission system operator called Eastring that aims to connect Slovak transmission system to a new natural gas hub that will be developed after the Turk stream will be materialised.
Q: What are the main important aim of Eastring gas pipeline project? How it would impact gas market in central Europe? Should Eastring pipeline be treated as competetive project to Polish conception of “north gate”?
A: Eastring gas interconnector is marketed as an energy security project and as such it received also support from Projects of Common Interest. It is supposed to help keep position of Slovakia as a transit country also after 2019 and cessation of transit through the Brotherhood pipeline from the Russian Federation to European Union via Ukraine. However, the project seems to be in direct competition to other similar proposals within the region (especially Tesla) and benefit Slovakia much more than the whole Central and Eastern European region.
Q: What are the main common and difference of interests among V4 countries?
A: V4 countries share several common interests in area of energy interest however, this policy is significant influenced by changing international development. Therefore, some aspects are prone to changes. However, V4 countries share their interest in energy security, utilisation of nuclear energy and rather critical position towards climate policy goals of the European Union. Their differences are mostly connected to the structure of their energy mixes. Coal is considered of a crucial importance for the Czech Republic and Poland, while in the case of Slovakia or Hungary is this energy source important, but not to that degree. Similarly, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are much more vocal supporters of nuclear power at the EU level than the other two countries, however, they also support this type of energy source.
Interviewee: Matus Misik (expert on energy policy, Comenius University, Slovakia)
Interviewer: Paweł Musiałek (The Jagiellonian Club, Poland)
Photo from Matus Misik’s archive