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Poland sees no need to buy LNG from Russia -minister

Poland wants to increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) purchases via its terminal at Swinoujscie on the Baltic Sea, but sees no reason to buy from Russia, a government energy official said.

Poland launched the terminal in 2016 as part of a push to diversify away from Russian imports in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s wider clash with Ukraine, including over pipeline gas exports.

“I do not see a need for us to be buying LNG from Gazprom in future,” Piotr Naimski, Poland’s plenipotentiary for strategic energy infrastructure, told Reuters.

Russia is looking to produce 120-130 million tonnes of LNG annually in the coming years versus around 30 million now and to raise its share in the global LNG market to up to 20%.

Warsaw’s plans call for expanding the terminal’s capacity to 7.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) by 2021 from 5 bcm.

It also aims to build a 4 bcm floating terminal in Gdansk by 2025, as it expects to buy more LNG from the United States and other places.

Naimski also said he expects Polish state-run gas firm PGNiG to formally notify Russian gas exporter Gazprom by the end of the year that it does not intend to extend their long-term pipeline gas supply deal beyond 2022 when it expires.

“Just now Poland has a chance to free itself from a dominant supplier, which is Gazprom,” said Naimski.

Poland consumes 17-18 bcm of gas annually and expects growing demand to be met after 2022 by LNG imported via Swinujscie, 10 bcm sent from North Sea fields via a planned pipeline and 4 bcm from domestic production.

“This will leave some, but not too big a margin, to be used by Poland’s neighbours,” Naimski said.

Only when Poland builds the Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) in Gdansk in 2025 and expands cross-border links with Ukraine and Slovakia, will it be able to export significant amounts of gas.

“The plan assumes that we will be able to add a second (floating) unit if needed. We will be reacting to the demand for gas being sent to Poland. We know that there is a growing interest in the region,” Naimski said.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; editing by Jason Neely)

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