The significance of the Gaz-System and Solar Turbines agreement goes beyond the Baltic Pipe project. Little hearts from America will pump Northern Gateway gas through the bloodstream of all of Poland, and maybe even its neighbors – writes Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief of BiznesAlert.pl.
Gaz-System and Solar Turbines agreement
On August 14, Gaz-System signed a contract with the American company Solar Turbines for the supply and service of a set of compressor aggregates for three gas compressor stations that are part of the Baltic Pipe Program located in Poland. The delivery includes a total of 10 compressor aggregates with a capacity of 5 to 10 MW, out of which 3 will go to Goleniów Gas Compressor, 3 to the Gustorzyn Gas Compressor and 4 to the Odolanów Gas Compressor. The delivery will be carried out within 18 to 20 months from the day the contract is signed.
Poland-US energy dialogue
Each agreement with the US increases the strategic importance of Poland’s security from the American point of view, so will the PLN 550m contract with Solar Turbines. This is another element of Poland-US energy cooperation undertaken as part of the strategic dialogue initiated by energy secretary Rick Perry and government plenipotentiary for strategic energy infrastructure Piotr Naimski.
It should be emphasized, however, that the US supports Poland as a NATO country and is involved in the Alliance’s initiatives for energy security, including security of supply through the Baltic Pipe, since the NATO summit in 2015. Poles, in cooperation with Norwegians and Danes (Baltic Pipe countries) supported by Americans, won a record on the protection of NATO’s maritime routes for the supply of raw materials. The agreement with Solar Turbines is therefore the aftermath, and not the first symptom, of the desired US commitment to the Baltic Pipe shield, for example against crossbreeding problems with Nord Stream 2.
American hearts of the Polish transmission system
However, the construction of the compressor station with the help of the Americans goes beyond the Baltic Pipe Plan. The CEO of Gaz-System Tomasz Stępień, quoted by BiznesAlert.pl, revealed that Solar Turbines equipment will increase the power of compressor stations installed in Poland by 50 percent. It will allow for distribution of gas from the Baltic Pipe and FSRU in Gdańsk throughout Poland. – It will let gas from these new directions be delivered to Poland, but also to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, because we are implementing gas pipelines with Lithuania and Slovakia, and we have connections with the Czech Republic and Ukraine on drawing boards – summed up the president.
This means that compressors from the US will serve the entire Northern Gateway – an expanded gas terminal, Baltic Pipe and FSRU (the so-called second gas terminal). These pumps will be small hearts distributing gas throughout the country. This is particularly important in the face of the challenges described in the text about the problems of the Poland-Ukraine Gas Pipeline. Only the full modernization of transmission infrastructure in Poland will eliminate bottlenecks limiting the potential of the Northern Gateway in the country and abroad. Asked about when compressor stations from the USA will enable supplies via the new gas pipeline to Ukraine, Stępień replied it would happen in 2022.
Two birds with one stone
The Gaz-System agreement with Solar Turbines is, using an American saying, the blow of two birds with one stone. Entering as much of the infrastructure as possible in the Baltic Pipe Plan may allow for further funding (EU, etc.) of works that would normally only serve national needs. This was also the case for the Poland-Lithuania Gas Pipeline, whose associated infrastructure co-financed by the European Union has allowed accelerating the gasification of northeastern Poland.