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The Polish secret services have detained a government official on allegations he had been spying for Russia, informing Moscow about Poland’s plans on how to put the brakes on the Nord Stream 2 gas project.
Reuters reports that the official, identified as Marek W., was responsible for energy projects and fed information about Warsaw’s plans to block Nord Stream 2 to Russian intelligence officers under diplomatic cover at the Russian embassy in Poland.
The central European country, along with Ukraine and the three Baltic States, is the most vocal opponent of Nord Stream 2, arguing it would increase Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.
Recently, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki clashed over Nord Stream 2, which will ship Russian gas to Germany, bypassing Ukraine. According to Merkel, Nord Stream 2 will diversify European natural gas supplies, but Morawiecki—and many other top EU officials—believe it will only deepen the EU’s dependence on Russian gas.
In January, Morawiecki asked Washington to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2, which was in tune with former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s view of the project as a threat to European energy security.
Poland is already taking measures to reduce its own dependence on Russian gas as it seeks to block the project. It last year signed a five-year LNG supply deal with Centrica, with the gas to be delivered from Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass terminal and is planning more deals like that to diversify its gas supplies.
At the same time Germany is in urgent need of more gas as it plans to phase out coal power plants as well as nuclear ones. Europe’s largest economy is already by far Gazprom’s biggest client in Europe. Nord Stream 2 will increase total gas shipments to the continent by more than 50 billion cubic meters annually, most of which will go to Germany.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.