Poland terminates Yamal gas pipeline contract with Russia

Paweł Supernak/PAP

Poland’s climate and environment minister has told PAP that the government has adopted a resolution terminating an agreement with Russia on the construction of a system of gas pipelines to carry gas through Polish territory.

Anna Moskwa said the resolution was adopted on May 13 and concerned the withdrawal from an agreement on building a gas pipeline system and delivering Russian gas to Poland, which was signed in Warsaw on August 25, 1993.

The agreement had been annexed multiple times and the last protocol amending it was signed by Polish and Russian officials on October 29, 2010.

Moskwa explained that the agreement was an international contract so the appropriate notification will be made by Poland's Foreign Ministry in a message expected to be sent on Monday.

"For years the government has consistently carried out a strategy of diversifying sources of gas deliveries to Poland and we have prepared ourselves to end the contract with Gazprom at the end of 2022 and not to buy more gas from Russia," Moskwa told PAP.

"In 2019, (Polish gas company - PAP) PGNiG terminated and did not extend a contract on gas deliveries from Russia, the so-called Yamal contract. The propriety of the government's determination aimed at complete independence from Russian gas was confirmed by Russia's aggression against Ukraine. We have always known that Russia is not a reliable partner. The years 2006, 2009 and 2014 were marked by further unwarranted breaks in deliveries by Russia."

Moskwa added that since 2010, the operator of the Yamal pipeline has been Polish firm Gaz-System.

"As the years passed, the Polish operator's control over the pipeline was successively increased, in line with European law," Moskwa explained. "In 2022, a law was adopted which stipulates that the operator has the right to exclusively use the assets of this network's owner, essential to fulfilling the operator's obligations," she continued. "The operator will be responsible for issuing connection conditions and concluding and carrying out contracts for connection to the network. It will also set the tariffs for sending gas through the system and will submit them for approval to the president of the URE (Energy Regulatory Office - PAP). Provisions of international agreements, being contrary to European law, should not be binding."

The climate minister went on to explain that the Yamal pipeline functions in a way fully compliant with European law, as a result of which so-called Physical Reverse Flow is possible, enabling gas to be sent to Poland from Germany.

Moskwa also said the government's adoption of the resolution was a natural step following Russia's cessation of gas deliveries to Poland. "When Russia de facto breached the terms of the contract by cutting us off from deliveries, the Polish government considered it non-binding due to important conditions being broken," she said.

On April 26, Gazprom informed PGNiG that gas deliveries would cease from April 27 as the Polish firm had refused to pay for gas in roubles.