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Poland Threatens To Seize Russian Pipelines

As Poland desperately attempts to restore the flow of Russian gas to the country, its government has ordered Russian Novatek to hand over pipeline infrastructure or face legal action amounting to infrastructure expropriation.  

On Friday, a Polish government spokesman told the Associated Press that Russian Novatek Green Energy had been ordered to make its pipelines available to Polish companies and that failure to comply would mean legal action. 

Invoking crisis management laws, AP cited government spokesperson Piotr Mueller as saying that the fate of Novatek, Russia’s second-largest natural gas producer, “depends on whether this Russian firm, linked to Russia, will cooperate in the proper way …. whether the employees, acting on some instructions, will not be trying to block this process in some way”. 

Russian RT media, a Kremlin mouthpiece, reported that Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had “requested state companies PGNiG, PSG and Gaz-System to immediately supply gas to grids formally owned by Novatek.”

While Poland’s state-run gas companies can provide gas to those municipalities that have been cut off, they require Novatek’s infrastructure to achieve that. 

Several dozen Polish municipalities have been left without gas after Novatek suspended supplies to the country earlier this week. 

Also earlier this week, Poland placed a Novatek subsidiary on its sanctions list, along with 50 other Russian and Belarussian entities and individuals. 

On Thursday, Polish officials vowed to force compensation from Gazprom for what it has called “unlawful” actions. Poland claims that Russia has breached its contract by demanding that natural gas be paid for in rubles and then cutting off gas supplies upon Poland’s refusal to comply. 

“Gazprom will have to pay us compensation because it acted in an obviously unlawful way. This is the opinion of specialists from different countries,” Deputy foreign minister Piotr Wawrzyk told Polskie Radio.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on April 29 2022 said:
    Before Russia cut off gas supplies to Poland because of its refusal to pay for Russian gas in rubles, Poland was boasting that it can replace Russian gas from alternative sources and, moreover, it was the most enthusiastic among the EU members in calling for an immediate embargo on Russian gas and oil imports.

    It also transpired that after Gazprom cut off gas supplies, Poland continued to buy Russian gas from Germany. If that is the case, why doesn’t continue to do exactly that without threatening to seize Novatek gas pipelines and thus inflaming an already inflamed relations with Russia?

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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