LUXEMBOURG , June 17 (UPI) -- The European Investment Bank said a Polish natural gas pipeline project will add a layer of diversity to the European gas corridor.
EIB said it was lending $132 million to Polish natural gas transmission company Gaz-System for the expansion of a pipeline that could bring gas, including domestically sourced liquefied natural gas, to the border of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine
"This marks an important step towards better security of the energy supply in Europe," Laszlo Baranyay, EIB vice president in charge of lending in Poland, said in a statement from Luxembourg.
The EIB said the Polish gas project is "crucial" to European energy security. Dubbed the Lwowek-Odolanow gas pipeline, it will have a length of 100 miles once it's completed in 2017.
Russian energy company Gazprom said Monday it would send natural gas through Ukraine only if it was paid in advance. European consumers get about a quarter of their gas needs met by Russia, though most of that supply runs through the Soviet-era transmission network in Ukraine.
Gazprom said Ukraine is in billions of dollars of debt for past gas deliveries. Similar disputes in 2006 and 2009 brought brief energy shortages to European consumers.