Austria, Slovenia and Croatia plan to build a gas pipeline from Kirk to Bavaria with EU funds

The prime ministers of Croatia, Austria, Slovenia, and Bavaria have jointly communicated their intent to construct a gas pipeline with the aid of EU funds. This pipeline will connect Croatia’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal to Bavaria, with the capability to transport hydrogen as well, as reported by the Croatian news agency HINA.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer emphasized the importance of the energy partnership between Austria and Croatia during a joint press conference with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who was on an official visit to Vienna. The Croatian LNG terminal on the island of Kirk in the northern Adriatic holds great significance for Austria, as the two countries are collaborating to reduce their reliance on Russian gas.

Nehammer also noted that Austria’s storage capacity is currently at 97%, which was an achievement they couldn’t have imagined the previous year. Given Austria’s landlocked geography, having a reliable gas supply infrastructure is crucial. Nehammer commended Croatia’s LNG terminal and the initiative to connect it via a pipeline to Slovenia, Austria, and Bavaria, a project he visited last year.

Croatia, Austria, Slovenia, and Bavaria have submitted a letter to the President of the European Commission outlining their plans to invest in this pipeline, which will be funded by European resources, according to Plenković. Croatia is expanding its LNG terminal capacity from 2.9 to 6.1 billion cubic meters, exceeding its own needs. This expansion will enable Croatia to support its neighbors with gas supplies, and the pipeline will also be designed to transport hydrogen, contributing to Europe’s energy transition.

Earlier this year, Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy met the grant requirements for the North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley project, which envisions hydrogen production near the Kirk terminal.

Both Plenković and Nehammer praised the strong economic ties between Croatia and Austria, with a turnover of 3.4 billion euros in the previous year and cooperation with 800 Austrian companies. They also expressed support for Ukraine, the EU’s enlargement to the Western Balkans, and Israel’s actions against Hamas, emphasizing Israel’s right to security and self-defense while urging respect for international and humanitarian law to avoid civilian casualties and regional escalations. They noted the potential repercussions of further destabilization in the Middle East on Europe.

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