BRUSSELS, July 17 (UPI) -- More than half of the gas projects slated for Polish government grants will connect to European markets and help diversify the sector, an EU commissioner said.
The European Commission said Poland's plans to grant nearly $830 million in grants to nine different gas projects are line with efforts to advance a "true energy union" by creating more connections to regional economies.
Margrethe Vestager, the European Union's commissioner in charge of competition policy, said the grants were an encouraging testament of sensible public spending.
"Interconnections enable energy flows between countries, improve cross-border connections and allow diversification of gas supply sources," she said in a statement.
Five of the nine gas projects set to receive Polish state assistance will connect to European gas networks in the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas. The remaining four will eliminate bottlenecks within the Polish transit network.
The European Commission in June offered more than $150 million in grants to support the development of energy infrastructure projects in Central and Southeastern Europe. Recent memoranda of understanding were signed with regional countries calling in part for more momentum behind the construction of what was described as "missing" gas links.
The commission's grants will cover gas storage projects in Bulgaria and links between Poland and the Czech Republic.
European leaders are working to diversify a market influenced heavily by Russian energy companies accused of holding monopolies in Eastern Europe.