Gaz-System has selected a contractor to carry out a feasibility study on the construction of a second Polish LNG terminal, the state-owned gas grid operator said on March 27.
Poland has recently stepped up efforts to reduce dependence on Russian gas. Warsaw insists that Moscow uses its role as a key supplier to Central & Eastern Europe to increase its political leverage in the region.
The project to develop a second LNG terminal is a back up plan to a scheme to build a pipeline linking to Norweigan gas fields controlled by gas utility PGNiG via Denmark. The plan to add to the LNG terminal opened last year at Swinoujscie suggests Warsaw is unsure of the economics of the Baltic Pipe project.
The country has an operational LNG terminal in Swinoujscie that will see imports from Qatar double from 2018. PGNiG is also investing in Norwegian production assets that are planned to serve as a source for gas to be pumped along the Baltic Pipe, which Warsaw wants to build by 2020.
Poland consumes around 16bn cubic metres (cm) of gas per year; Russia has supplied around 70% of that gas in recent years. With new investments enhancing diversification, Poland has hinted it may not renew its current long-term supply contract with Gazprom when it expires in 2022.
The feasibility study will be for the construction of a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) in Gdansk Bay. Gaz-System said it hopes to sign a contract for the study with the winning bidder this month. The study is expected to be completed in November.
A new LNG terminal would double Poland's LNG current import capacity of 4.1bn cm. It would also allow Poland to supply neighbouring countries, Gaz-System said. Lithuania opened an FSRU in 2015, but is struggling to make it work economically.
The terminal will be also capable of providing services like reloading LNG to smaller tankers or bunkering natural gas-propelled vessels. The cost of the facility is currently estimated at PLN3bn (€700mn).
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