Poland must remain reasonable on Russian LNG imports says minister

"This is a very sensitive subject today as there are many LNG-fuelled installations and vehicles in Poland," Waldemar Buda said in Katowice, southern Poland, on Monday. Zbigniew Meissner/PAP

Poland will follow a reasonable path of liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Russia in order not to deprive Polish customers of access to this fuel, the development minister has said.

Poland has been phasing out imports of Russian oil and banned altogether shipments of coal from the country, but has not yet been able to satisfy the domestic LNG demand with enough gas from non-Russian sources.

"This is a very sensitive subject today as there are many LNG-fuelled installations and vehicles in Poland," Waldemar Buda said in Katowice, southern Poland, on Monday.

Buda said that the government had been in disagreement with the main opposition party, the Civic Platform (PO), and the entire opposition which "want to deprive many road traffic participants, car owners of access to LNG."

"We will follow a reasonable path here," he said.

On June 16, opposition politicians appealed to the prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, to support their draft legislation banning imports of Russian LNG. They appealed to "build an agreement over divisions" and "free Poland from Russian gas."

PAP was told at that time the draft had already been submitted to the Sejm, the lower house of parliament.

But Buda said that "we will not be open to unreasonable proposals," as he gave the example of the Turow lignite mine that caused clashes between the government and the EU's top court and more recently a Polish top administrative court.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ordered the mine to be shut down following complaints from the Czech Republic, but has since dropped the case after an agreement was reached between Warsaw and Prague. More recently, a Polish administrative court waived an environmental decision allowing the continued operation of the mine, putting its fate at risk. This spurred the government to declare the mine will not be shut down due to Poland's energy security interests.

In order to become independent of imports of Russian fuels, Poland has built an LNG terminal with a capacity of approximately seven billion cubic meters of gas per year in Świnoujscie (north-western Poland) and has been building a new floating terminal for receiving, storing and regasifying liquefied natural gas.

Welcome to The First News weekly newsletter

Every Friday catch up on our editor’s top pick of news about Poland, including politics, business, life and culture. To receive your free email subscription, sign up today.