Czech Gas Firm Scales Back Poland, Austria Interconnector Plans

PRAGUE (Reuters) —Czech gas pipeline operator Net4Gas has delayed and scaled back plans for new interconnections with Poland and Austria, the firm's updated investment plans shows. 

Net4Gas ships mainly Russian gas to the Czech Republic, parts of Germany, Slovakia and down to Austria, with gas mostly coming through Germany's Nord Stream pipeline.

The firm's 2021-2030 development plan shows the company has shelved its Czech-Polish pipeline project STORK II that was to boost cross-border capacity with Poland from 2023.

The project has been replaced by a smaller potential interconnection raising capacity from Poland, which may come online in 2027/2028.

It has also halted a connector to Austria called BACI that was seen going online in 2024, which may, however, be replaced by a smaller, similar project from 2026.

Net4Gas said the projects were shelved after they did not get on a list of EU-backed projects, and new capacity would be added depending on customer needs.

"The current 10-year plan does not expect the BACI and STORK II projects in their earlier planned form, mainly because they are not at the moment included in the European list of projects of common interest," Net4Gas said in response to Reuters questions.

It said the plan did include the alternative possibilities, whose delivery would depend on capacity auctions in 2021.

Net4Gas has been investing into boosting other parts of its infrastructure to significantly raise volumes it can ship from northern Germany.

The opening of the Nord Stream pipeline has led to a switch of traditional east-west physical flows through the Czech system to more north-south flows.

Net4Gas is owned 50-50 by Allianz Infrastructure Czech HoldCo II and Canada's OMERS pension plan.

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