Gas supplies from Azerbaijan and US important for EU energy security – Polish energy ministry (exclusive)


    By Elena Kosolapova – Trend:

    Liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies from the US to the Eastern Europe which were launched last week and gas supplies from Azerbaijan expected starting from 2020, are very important for European energy security, a source in the Bureau of Polish Energy Minister told Trend.

    The source reminded that Poland has built LNG terminal in the port of Swinoujscie, which is a crucial component of Polish energy security strategy. According to the source, on 17 June 2016, the Swinoujscie LNG terminal received the first commercial delivery of LNG from Qatar. On 25 June 2016, the Arctic Princess LNG tanker delivered the first spot shipment of LNG from Norway, and on 8th of June 2017 was a historical moment as the first US originated natural gas came to Central Eastern Europe, a market traditionally perceived as Russian influence zone.

    “Those dates mark the opening of a new stage in energy security for Poland and the Central Eastern Europe countries, and I believe that American LNG has a crucial role to play here,” the source said.

    According to the Polish Ministry data, the terminal is designed for the reception and re-gasification of 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, in the first stage with potential of expansion up to 10 billion cubic meters per year.
    “It is the first such project in Central and Eastern Europe and the only one of such magnitude to be situated at the Baltic entry from the Danish straights,” the source in the ministry said.

    Speaking about future gas supplies from Azerbaijan, the source noted that any new source of gas coming to Europe is an opportunity. He went on to add that the concept of the Southern Gas Corridor project supplied by Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and potentially gas from Eastern Mediterranean region would contribute to security of supply and creation of liquid joint energy market of the EU.

    “Therefore, Poland supports any initiative which will contribute to increased competition, our experience with abuses of dominant position by supplier is something which is not desired,” the source said.

    He did not specify when the next tanker with the US LNG is expected to come to Poland and if such supplies will be regular, noting that this is a question for the CEO of Polish state-controlled oil and natural gas company PGNiG.

    “I believe that politicians should not interfere in commercial activities, but of course United States as strategic ally of Poland and American companies are welcome to contribute to Polish energy security through direct supplies of LNG. If the offer of regular supplies will be commercially attractive it will surely be carefully assessed,” the source said.

    Meanwhile, according to the source, Polish plan for diversification of sources and suppliers should not be perceived strictly in commercial terms.
    “Current developments in external dimension of EU’s energy security show that the will to pursue the goals of Energy Union is decreasing. We observe mild approach in antitrust proceeding towards Gazprom, commitments proposed in Market Test procedure are far from satisfying,” he said.

    The source went on to add that recent decision to create alternative legal regime for Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia is also worrisome.

    “This clearly shows that whole Central Eastern European region needs an alternative. Not contractual, but physical supply from new partners, like Norway and US,” he said, adding that therefore Polish strategy can be narrowed down to the point in which the Government wants to create ability for the region to have that alternative.

    Commenting on the possible resale of the US LNG coming to Poland, the source stressed that any interested party is welcome to use the import infrastructure created as Northern Gate consisting of LNG Terminal and interconnection with Norwegian Shelf.
    Meanwhile he noted that, of course Polish neighbors are in most comfortable position, adding that Polish TSO is currently constructing complimentary to Northern Gate interconnection projects with Slovakia, Ukraine, Lithuania and Czech Republic.