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Poland Ups Capacity of German Gas Link to Cut Russia Dependence

Valves and pipelines are pictured at the Gaz-System gas distribution station in Gustorzyn, central Poland.

WARSAW — Poland has more than doubled the capacity of a link able to carry gas from the West in its drive to diversify supplies and reduce dependence on its main supplier, Russia, Polish gas operator Gaz-System said on Wednesday.

Eastern Europe's biggest economy opened its first gas link from the West in April capable of transporting supplies from Germany to help guard against potential cuts of Russian deliveries as the crisis in Ukraine escalated.

The reverse flow link along the Yamal pipeline through a pumping station in the German town of Mallnow was also seen as part of wider European Union efforts to build new links and infrastructure to ensure security of supply.

The expansion of the pumping station at Mallnow increased capacity of the reverse flow link to 5.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) annually from 2.3 bcm annually.

Poland consumes around 16 bcm of gas annually, most of which comes from Russia's Gazprom.

Central and eastern European countries including the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria have all made recent strides to build new gas links with each other and to improve reverse flows.

Building new links and upgrading infrastructure to enable reverse flows has gained renewed focus in the EU following a contract dispute between Moscow and Kiev in 2009 that stopped gas flows via Ukraine to much of central and southeastern Europe in the middle of winter.

Warsaw is also planning to open a liquified natural gas terminal later this year on the Baltic Sea to further ease reliance on Russian imports.

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