Poland Scrambles To Wean Itself Off Russian Gas

Poland is continuing to make a pivot away from its decades-long natural gas supplier – Russia. In a statement on Wednesday, Polish state-controlled oil and gas company PGNIG said that its share of gas imports from Russia fell to 66.8 percent in 2018 from 70.4 percent the previous year, while it imported around 9.04 bcm for the end of 2018, a drop of 6.4 percent year-on-year. The company imported around 13.53 bcm worth of gas to Poland, while domestic production totaled some 3.8 bcm.

Poland’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports also increased in 2018 from the previous year, the company said. LNG imports from Qatar, Norway and the U.S. in 2018 increased by nearly 1 bcm (58.2 percent) and reached over 2.71 bcm (after regasification), compared to 2017, when around 1.72 bcm of LNG was imported after regasification. Poland’s LNG imports last year represented 20 percent of the country’s total gas imports compared to just 8.4 percent in 2016.

There are a number of takeaways from PGNIG’s disclosure from yesterday. The biggest story behind the numbers is Poland’s frenzied push to wean itself off of geopolitically charged Russian gas that it’s been buying since 1944. Russian state-run gas giant Gazprom provides about two-thirds of Poland’s natural gas annually. However, in 2016 Poland completed its first LNG terminal, while last year it inked several deals to bring in more U.S.-sourced LNG, much to the delight of the Trump Administration that has been promulgating U.S. gas as a way for EU members to offset both Russian gas monopoly as well as provide more long-term off-take agreements for American energy companies…

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