Natural Gas Transmission System Operator
Another important stage in the construction of the GIPL completed – the first gas pipe has been laid under the Nemunas
One more important step has been taken in the implementation of the GIPL project, which will connect the Baltic region and Europe – the first 750-metre gas pipe has been laid in Alytus District under the Nemunas, the widest river in Lithuania.
‘The most difficult stage of the work has been completed smoothly, and the fact that almost 40 per cent of the planned GIPL project work has already been done allows us to feel confident that this project, which is important for both Lithuania and the gas market of the entire region, will be implemented on time due to proper regard for project quality and risk management. The important thing is that the GIPL project, which will be implemented by the end of next year, will give market participants the freedom to choose their sources and directions of supply’” says EPSO-G CEO Rolandas Zukas.
According to Nemunas Biknius, the head of gas transmission system operator Amber Grid, which is a member of the EPSO-G group and is implementing the GIPL project, construction of a second gas pipe under the Nemunas will begin in the near future. 
‘One pipe under the Nemunas is enough for gas to start flowing through the pipeline, and the second one that is being laid in parallel will make it possible to ensure uninterrupted operation of the pipeline when performing the necessary maintenance work in the future,’ says Mr Biknius.
With the help of environmentally friendly horizontal directional drilling (HDD) technology, work has been under way on both sides of the Nemunas since mid-July. The second parallel pipe under the Nemunas is expected to be completed in early September. In the beginning of summer, placement of the pipeline under the Neris was also completely smoothly.
In the history of large-scale energy infrastructure projects, there have been cases where the construction of pipelines under water bodies has halted projects. Drilling of the GIPL pipeline trench was completed on time thanks to the excellent work of contractors and partners and favourable geodetic conditions. Due to the loose soil on the riverside, the pipeline is protected by a special case.
In hard-to-reach areas, HDD work is being carried out by the German company LMR Drilling, protecting the riverside forest areas and aquatic plants and animals and preserving the natural environment. The main contractors for the entire gas interconnection are Alvora and Šiaulių dujotiekio statyba. 
According to Mr Biknius, construction of the GIPL is proceeding rapidly: 100 of the 165 kilometres of pipeline sections have already been welded. Two-thirds of the project is planned to be completed by the end of this year. After that, the remaining sections of the gas pipeline from Alytus District to Lazdijai will be installed, gas distribution points will be equipped, and a gas metering station will be built on the Lithuanian-Polish border. 
The GIPL, which will start operating at the end of 2021, will connect the Lithuanian, Baltic and Finnish gas markets with the European Union. The project will be economically beneficial for the region: the pipeline will allow gas to be obtained from various sources, and will open up the possibility of supplying gas from Poland, as well as to Poland, Ukraine or other countries, provided that appropriate market conditions and infrastructure opportunities are in place. This gas pipeline will allow for more efficient use of the Lithuanian gas transmission system and the Klaipėda LNG terminal.
The capacity created from Poland will make it possible to transport about 27 terawatt hours (TWh) of gas per year to Lithuania, which is more gas than Lithuania consumes annually (22 TWh). The capacity to Poland and other countries connected to Poland will allow for 21 TWh of gas to be transported per year. This makes up about half of the capacity of the Klaipėda LNG terminal, therefore creating wider possibilities for its use. Once the GIPL project is completed, the Baltic gas markets will become part of the single EU gas market.
In the photo: Tomas Šidlauskas, CEO of Alvora, Nemunas Biknius, CEO of Amber Grid, Ernst Fengler, the representative of contractor LMR Drilling and Leonas Čepulis, CEO of Šiaulių dujotiekio statyba
Construction works of GIPL gas interconnection
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