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Ross McCracken

Ross McCracken

Ross is an energy analyst, writer and consultant who was previously the Managing Editor of Platts Energy Economist

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The Politicization Of European Gas

pipeline

In April, the EU awarded two sets of funds designed to strengthen Polish gas security. It granted €128 million ($144 million) from the European Regional Development Fund for the expansion of the Swinoujscie LNG plant, and €243 million for the construction of the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline, which will connect Poland with Norwegian gas supplies.

The LNG plant expansion will raise Polish LNG import capacity from 5.0 to 7.5 Bcm a year, while Baltic Pipe will provide an import capacity of 10 Bcm/yr. Given domestic gas production of around 4 Bcm/yr and planned increases, by 2023, Poland should be able to meet all its gas demand from non-Russian sources, ending the need to renew its current contract with Russia’s Gazprom, which expires in October 2022.

Poland is also developing new or expanded interconnections with Lithuania, Slovakia, Ukraine and the Czech Republic. The planned Lithuania-Poland pipeline will open a second route for LNG imports into Poland and perhaps beyond via Lithuania’s 4.1 Bcm/yr Klaipeda LNG import terminal.

Gazprom will have lost the minor Baltic states’ gas markets and about 11 Bcm of exports to Poland, in addition to the loss of the Ukraine market, which imported no Russian gas last year for its own use. Formerly, Ukraine imported more than 30 Bcm/yr of Russian gas.

LNG imports

LNG - notably US LNG - will be a major means of replacing Russian gas. Poland’s national gas company PGNiG has existing contracts for 2.7 Bcm of long-term LNG imports from Qatar and in the last year signed for a total 9 Bcm of additional long-term contract gas with US LNG project developers Venture Global, Cheniere and Sempra Energy.

To meet these future commitments, Poland is considering the construction of a second LNG import terminal in the Bay of Gdansk for around 2024-25, with a capacity of 4.1-8.2 Bcm/yr. Another option would be a further expansion of Swinoujscie’s regas capacity to 10 Bcm/yr.

In reality, PGNiG’s LNG commitments in the medium term are lower, as most of these deals rest on the construction of US LNG projects which have yet to receive final investment decisions. PGNiG is committed to 3.4 Bcm of LNG up to 2022 and then 4.7 Bcm from 2023. The additional 5.44 Bcm depends on the construction of the Calcasieu Pass, Plaquemines and Port Arthur LNG projects.

Pipeline politics

Baltic Pipe is expected to be complete in 2022 and has received strong support…




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