Russia's Gazprom halts gas supplies to Poland - Polish gas company


Polish state-owned natural gas company PGNiG has been informed by Russia's Gazprom that it will stop gas supplies to Poland along the Yamal pipeline at 0800 hrs on Wednesday, PGNiG has said.

According to PGNiG, the halt of supplies is a breach of the Yamal contract. In a statement published on Tuesday, the company said that it will take steps to reinstate the flow of gas according to the Yamal contract, and that it has the right to pursue damages over the breach of contract.

PGNiG wrote that it was a Russian response to Poland's refusal to follow Moscow's recent demands for buyers of its gas to pay for it in the Russian currency, the rouble. The Russian president signed a decree to this effect on March 31.

"Poland has been threatened by Gazprom, which has decided to halt gas supplies to Poland," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said during a visit to Berlin.

"Poland has long been preparing diversification of gas supplies," Morawiecki stated. "We will be able to protect the Polish economy and the Polish people against this dramatic step taken by Russia even before the Baltic Pipe has been launched," he added.

The Baltic Pipe gas pipeline will allow transport of gas from Norway to the Danish and Polish markets, and should be fully operational in October this year.

Morawiecki also said that Poland's current gas reserves equalled 76 percent of its total gas storage capacity and that this level was much higher than in the majority of European countries.

"Poland will be able to use its own resources and purchase gas from all possible sources," he added and said that Poland had interconnectors to Germany and the Czech Republic, and a terminal in Świnoujscie, north-western Poland, which would be able to receive more Liquefied Natural Gas.

"Poland is safe with regard to energy supplies," Morawiecki stated, adding that Polish industry had also been taken care of. "Maybe we will have to use more radical protection measures, but we are well prepared," he concluded.