The contract, announced by Poland’s state-owned gas giant PGNiG on Tuesday, is a first for Poland and other European countries and “establishes new relations” between American producers and suppliers of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to European customers, Piotr Naimski, the Polish government pointman’s on “strategic energy infrastructure,” said in a media interview.
The contract “adopts European rules for setting the price of LNG,” an arrangement accepted by the Americans after “many months of negotiations, discussions and analysis,” Naimski, who is a secretary of state at the Polish prime minister’s office, told the wPolityce.pl online news service in an interview.
American “producers and suppliers as well as the US financial market are accustomed to using their own standards,” Naimski said. “And from this point of view, this contract sets a precedent.”
Naimski also told wPolityce.pl that the deal was “historic” in that it was likely to “set the standards for further talks, negotiations," and “influence the shape of contracts that will be signed in the future -- for the delivery of American LNG to not only Poland, but also other European countries.”
He also said that the contract, signed between Poland's PGNiG and energy company Centrica, follows talks “at the highest political level” held during US President Donald Trump's July visit to Warsaw as well as Polish President Andrzej Duda’s talks with American politicians. Talks were also “conducted at the government, ministerial and expert levels,” Naimski added.
The contract is part of a strategy of making Poland and Central Europe as a whole independent of a Russian gas supply monopoly, Naimski said in the interview.
He added that the Polish government was working to create conditions to diversify supplies by sourcing gas from the Norwegian shelf via a pipeline, in addition to having LNG delivered to a terminal in Świnoujście in the northwest of Poland on the Baltic coast.
Poland aims to be able to source about 16-17 billion cubic metres of gas "from the north" annually in the future, in part thanks to a planned new pipeline known as the Baltic Pipe that is expected to be up and running by 2022, Naimski suggested.
‘Years of neglect and backlog’
Poland’s conservative government, led by the Law and Justice (PiS) party, aims to make the country independent of Russia and its state-owned Gazprom company in terms of gas deliveries, Naimski said.
The new government strategy comes after "years of neglect and backlog” caused by the policies of the country’s previous Cabinets, according to Naimski, including those led by the leftist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the centre-right Civic Platform (PO).
These policies included “unfavourable” contracts signed by officials including Deputy Prime Minister Marek Pol in 2003 and Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Waldemar Pawlak in 2010, Naimski argued.