No gas fears this winter – Polish PM
Donald Tusk has downplayed worries that Poland may run out of gas supplies if a new gas deal is not signed with Russia soon.
On July 22, Rzeczpospolita reported that Poland could face natural gas shortage as it heads into this winter.
Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo (PGNiG), Poland's state-controlled gas company, has already used more than 70 percent of the natural gas it contracted from Russian supplier Gazprom for 2010.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Tusk acknowledged that there is no set deadline as to the signing of a controversial 15-year extension deal with Russia, which would force Poland to purchase Russian gas until 2037.
The deal is set to increase Russian gas supplies to Poland at an amount set at 10.3 billion cubic metres per annum.
The new arrangement between Poland and Russia was reached six months ago after almost a year of negotiations, but still has to be signed by both governments.
The European Commission also has reservations about the deal, querying the transit method of the gas via the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which leads from Russia to Germany via Poland.
The Commission is also deliberating whether the deal would break EU regulations, being additionally wary that the deal drafted by the transit firm, RosUkrEnergo has not been rubber stamped by the governments of Russia and the Ukraine.
Additional tensions surrounding the agreement have also arisen since the recent discovery of shale gas in Poland, and how much of the country’s own gas can be extracted from such deposits.
Gas supplies stipulated in the current contract with Russia are estimated to run out in October, by which time a new deal must be signed in order to receive any more gas from Russia.
Economy Minister and Deputy PM Waldemar Pawlak told journalists on Tuesday that the deal will probably be signed and sealed next week.