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The 50th Anniversary of the Launch of the International System for the Transmission of Gas via Slovakia Issue number
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      This year Slovakia will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the launch of the system for the transmission of natural gas, through its territory, to European markets. In the beginning, the Eustream (at that time Slovtransgaz) distribution network only transmitted natural gas from east to west. However, massive investment into the development of the transmission network over more than a decade put EUSTREAM in a completely different position. The system of parallel gas pipelines provides a bi-direction link with the main transmission routes of the Ukraine, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Austria and Poland – all our neighbouring countries. Thus, it is possible to transmit natural gas to and from all the cardinal points. During the crisis, caused by the war in the Ukraine, this ability of the Slovak distribution system has become exceptionally significant. It allows us and the countries around us to use alternative sources of natural gas. 

     In 2022, when the Slovak gas transmission company, Eustream, commemorates half a century of operations, we will also see the completion of a new project that is important to European energy security:  a gas main that connects Poland and Slovakia, the last, missing link in the new strategic north-south European corridor. This corridor links the LNG terminals in the Baltic Sea (Świnoujście (Poland)) and the new Baltic Pipe, connected to Norwegian sources of natural gas, with the Adriatic (the Krk LNG terminal). It is a new transmission vein that supports the common European safety of supply, provides new options for supply and confirms the important position of Slovakia as the gas supply crossroads of Central Europe.

     Half a century of operation of the transmission system is inter-mingled with the power crisis that has resulted from the military invasion of the Ukraine as well as appeals for decarbonisation. At present, the fully modernised Slovak distribution network is the main route that has supplied the Ukraine with natural gas purchased on European markets since 2014. The half-century of operation of the Slovak transmission system is also a reminder of the mutual cooperation with our Ukrainian partners, the operator of the natural gas transmission network (Gas TSO of Ukraine), who, despite the crisis, has continued to be a stable partner who contributes to European energy security. At the same time, Slovakia has been preparing for its future role in the construction of a hydrogen economy. In the future our robust distribution network, made up of parallel mains, could not only be used for the transmission of natural gas in various directions, but also gradually switched to the transmission of hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources in the EU and our neighbouring countries (including the Ukraine).

Pavol Kubík

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