Seeking Energy Independence: Poland turns to Norwegian gas to trump Russia - Politico

10:38 Oct. 19, 2016

Poland turns to Norwegian gas to trump Russia - Politico

Cavern underground gas storage in Kosakowo belonging to PGNiG Polish natural gas network operator (Getty Images)

Oslo warns that the pipeline first needs to make business sense

Increased tensions with Russia over its plans to build the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany is pushing Poland to revive a stalled pipeline project with Norway.

Read also German government must stop Nord Stream 2 – politician

Warsaw's main goal is to find other gas suppliers when its current contract with Russia's Gazprom expires in 2022.

"We are going to replace supplies from the east with other sources," Piotr Naimski, an MP in charge of strategic energy infrastructure at the Polish prime minister's office, said Tuesday at an event organised in the European Parliament in Brussels. "Our government is not eager to extend this contract."

The development highlights Central and Eastern Europe's ongoing struggle to unshackle itself from long-term contracts with the Russian energy giant, which have left countries in the region vulnerable to supply disruptions.

The region, together with the European Commission, has been very critical of Russia's Nord Stream 2 project, which would see Gazprom double its pipeline capacity to Germany under the Baltic Sea, bypassing the traditional route across Ukraine. The fear is that Russia would use its gas clout as a political weapon.

That has the Poles looking to the North Sea. "This is in competition with the Nord Stream 2 project," Naimski said. "The most important for us in Poland is to proceed with the idea of our own project and persuade our neighbours to diversify supplies."

The proposed project, which was first discussed at the end of 1990s, would ship gas from the Norwegian continental shelf to Poland via Denmark.

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