Level of Poland's gas stocks high - deputy min

Polish gas storage facilities are 83-percent full, which makes the country fare very well in this respect against other European countries, a deputy assets minister has said.

Maciej Małecki said in parliament on Thursday, answering lawmakers' questions about high gas prices, that Russia had limited gas supplies to Western European countries causing the insufficient level of gas storage in Europe.

However, he added "Poland is doing very well against this background, because our gas storage facilities are 83 percent full as compared to 50 percent in Germany and similar numbers across the EU."

Małecki said that given the country's annual gas consumption, estimated at around 22 billion cubic meters (bcm) and domestic production at 3.7 bcm, Poland imports 16 bcm of natural gas a year. Most of it flows through the Yamal-Europe pipeline owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom, but this contract will end at the end of 2022, he added.

Małecki also pointed to a ten-fold rise in gas prices, from EUR 18-20 for one megawatt hour of gas in January, 2021, to EUR 187 in December, 2021, and said that although the gas prices dropped in January, there is still a five-fold price increase compared to the last year.

He argued that this is due to "a gas blow by Vladimir Putin's Russia against EU countries to allow Nord Stream 2 (the nearly-ready Russia-Germany gas pipeline, which bypasses Eastern Europe and is seen by Warsaw as a threat to the region's energy security - PAP) to go ahead disregarding European regulations."

"Putin wants to remove the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from EU regulations, unfortunately he is supported by German politicians or politicians from other countries who supported the construction of this gas pipeline. On the other hand, Russia wants to force further long-term contracts that are advantageous to this country," Małecki said.

He added that for years Poland had warned its partners from the EU that Russia was not driven by business factors, but by ways of exerting pressure on its neighbours. He also accused the European Commission, the EU executive, of being "awkward" towards Russia's actions.