Poland's PGNiG eyes pipeline through Slovakia

WARSAW, March 3 (Reuters) - Poland's gas monopoly PGNiG PGNI.WA plans to build a pipeline through Slovakia to connect to Austrian gas hub in Baumgarten, a company official said on Tuesday.

Tomasz Karas, head of the company’s strategy department, said PGNiG was still in the early planning stages, adding the pipeline’s capacity would be at least 1 billion cubic metres.

“We are planning a connection through Slovakia to Baumgarten,” Karas told a seminar. “It is one of our plans to diversify supply routes to Poland.”

Baumgarten is one of the major gas hubs in Central and Eastern Europe and would allow PGNiG to buy gas on the spot market.

Additionally, the planned Nabucco pipeline project, in which PGNiG wants to participate, will end at the Austrian hub. Nabucco would bring Caspian and possibly Central Asian gas to western Europe via Turkey and the Balkans, bypassing Russia.

Poland imports about two-thirds of the 13 billion cubic metres of gas it uses annually, mainly from Russia. Since the January gas row between Ukraine and Russia, Poland has been receiving less gas than contracted. (Reporting by Patryk Wasilewski; editing by James Jukwey)