Poland claims talks under way on gas link to Norway

By bne IntelliNews April 14, 2016

Poland is set to launch official talks with Denmark and Norway on April 14 about a a pipeline project to link to Norewegian gas production assets owned by PGNiG, an executive from the state-controlled Polish company claims.

PGNiG’s recently updated strategy said the company plans to ramp up production from its foreign assets to ensure greater diversification of gas supplies to Poland, although it offered few details. The central European country currently receives around 70% of the gas it comsumes via imports from Russia. However, while PGNiG has been talking of a link to carry production home, the potential partners have shown little interest.

The construction of the pipeline that would move gas from PGNiG’s Norwegian assets via Denmark to Poland was first mooted by the company in February. At the time, both Norwegian offshore gas grid operator Gassco and state oil and gas company Statoil were frank in dismissing the project.

However, PGNiG suggests that stance has now changed. “[On April 14] talks will start with Denmark and Norway that will lead to coming up with a concept for the construction of the Baltic Pipe,” deputy CEO of PGNiG, Maciej Wozniak, told TVP Info on April 13.

Wozniak said a feasibility study of the project would be ready by the end of 2016, while the project should be completed by 2022, when Poland’s current long-term contract for gas supplies from Russia’s expires. The date is likely no coincidence.

“Poland could then become a hub to supply gas to entire [CEE],” Wozniak claimed, although he did not talk about the actual volumes of gas planned to flow via the Baltic Pipe.

The somewhat confusing comments were recieved with little enthusiasm by analysts. "This is quite strange, as PGNiG did not reveal many details on such changes in its recent strategy update," writes Erste. "We see the transparency of PGNiG deteriorating with the recent management changes."

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