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CEE gas infrastructure is ready to be a part of the decarbonisation process

Central and Eastern European transmission system operators (TSOs) are ready to take their part in the decarbonisation process by means of introducing a new type of infrastructure projects, according to the Gas Regional Investment Plan 2021, facilitated by Slovakia’s eustream.

The region is still exposed to some security of supply risks, but over the years significant improvements in this respect have been achieved as many planned projects have already been commissioned and the development of the gas infrastructure has significantly encouraged the market integration within the region.

In total, there are 109 gas infrastructure projects planned for implementation in the CEE region in the upcoming decade. The majority of the projects (77) are transmission pipelines projects, others are 5 LNG projects, 8 underground gas storage projects. For the first time, new sort of projects is being introduced, such as energy transition-related projects (hydrogen, reduction of methane emissions).

A special emphasis of the document is put on the role of the decarbonisation efforts in the CEE region and the role of gas infrastructure. This topic is important especially in a time when European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy is getting under its way. The 17 CEE TSOs signatories of the document think that gas and the gas infrastructure in the countries of the region will still play the important role in the upcoming decades in order to support the energy transition.

Another focus is on gas supply disruption cases through Ukraine and Belarus for the winter and summer periods. However, the implementation of planned infrastructure projects in upcoming years can solve this situation.

Regarding the decarbonisation process, in most cases, due to their transit character and historical circumstances, countries of the CEE region have natural gas in their energy mixes, which, in the vast majority of cases, it has been complementary to the fuel dominating in the national economy such as coal or nuclear energy. The TSOs believe that natural gas will be a transitional fuel in the process of transition to the zero-carbon economy and at the same time, it can lead to both improved energy efficiency and lower energy efficiency costs compared to other conventional technologies.

Furthermore, the countries of the CEE region see the need to use new low-carbon gases, recognising that their scale-up will vary depending on national conditions and the different starting points regarding each country’s energy mix.

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