The pipeline will transport oil extracted from the bottom of the Caspian Sea to Poland’s biggest refinery, which is operated by the Orlen company. The pipeline also will improve oil distribution to Western European countries. And the line may be extended to Gdansk, Poland, a major port on the Baltic Sea.Apart from Poland and Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Lithuania also will participate in the venture. These countries will have shares in a company called Sarmatia that was created during the energy summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.
Sarmatia will be responsible for building and managing the pipeline. A date for starting construction was not announced, but according to Polish authorities, the 500-kilometer pipeline will begin operating in 2011.The idea of a pipeline to help decrease Poland’s dependence on oil from Russia is not new. Plans have changed several times, and the project is estimated to cost at least $500 mln. When completed, the line will transport 8 mln to 10 mln tons of oil a day.
Now the most important thing for the countries taking part in the venture is the cooperation of Kazakhstan. This country, a former republic of the Soviet Union, is expected to be the main supplier of oil for the pipeline. But economic commentators say authorities of the Central Asian state don’t want to risk offending Russia by participating in the pipeline project. The former world superpower sees the pipeline venture as clearly damaging Russia’s interests as an oil supplier. During the Vilnius summit, President Lech Kaczynski emphasized that the pipeline initiative is not aimed at the interests of any country and that ousting Russian companies is not the goal.