Poland signed a 20-year contract, the first such deal in Central and Eastern Europe, for the purchase of some 40 million tons of liquefied natural gas from a U.S.-based producer.
Piotr Wozniak, the president of Poland’s PGNiG, said Wednesday the contract would help cut the country’s dependence on Russian gas imports.
Wozniak also said that the price was some 20 percent lower than that of the contract with Russia’s Gazprom, which ends in 2022.
Is that really so?
Inforos turned for comments to Maciej Wiśniowski, editor-in-chief of STRAJK.eu magazine.
Well, I have several questions.
They’re telling us that the price of the US contract is 20% lower. But why they wouldn’t quote the price of one cubic meter – in zlotys or in dollars, no difference? I would like to know the specific price. Total price, which includes not only the price of gas in the US, but also the costs of liquefying process, transportation across the Atlantic, the de-liquefying as soon as it gets to Poland and of bringing it to end consumers. I’d like to see a figure of the total price. I have no trust in vague statements. All the more so, that a good number of experts believe it is quite impossible that US gas exports to Poland would be cheaper than Russian gas exports to Germany. Or – did they offer us a special discount? If so, do we have any guarantees from the US that the good price would hold throughout the term of the contract?
Diversifying suppliers is a good idea. Every country has a right to do so to avoid overdependence on a single partner. However, in this case it looks like we’re switching from one monopolist to another. The term of the US contract is 20 years. It’s a long time. Can we be sure that next administrations in Washington would be willing to honor the terms of this deal? Doesn’t it look like a new total dependence on another supplier?
Polish politicians and media are telling us that this deal would allow Poland not to renew the contract with Gazprom. Meanwhile the rest of Europe would happily consume the gas coming from Russia. They are clever enough not to renounce the supplies of cheap gas they can get much easier than Poland would get from its new supplier across the Atlantic. So, what do we have here? Is it a well-calculated economic decision, or just politics – pure and so simple?