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Polish Briefing 9 August, 2017 9:00 am   
Editorial staff

Polish Briefing: Pole in charge of Ukraine’s gas pipelines. New LNG delivery contracts next year

What goes on in Poland on the 9th of August.

Pole in charge of Ukraine’s gas pipelines

Paweł Stańczak the current Technical Director and board member at PGNiG will run the state-owned Ukrtranshaz, operator of the gas transmission system and owner of underground gas storage facilities in Ukraine.

The Pole’s candidacy has been approved by the Supervisory Board of Naftohaz, which owns all shares of Ukrtranshaz. The information was released on Tuesday by Naftohaz’s press office.

The press release said Stańczak has a 25-year experience in gas transportation and in 2003-3005 he was responsible at PGNiG for establishing Gaz-System S.A., the Polish gas transmission system operator.

“Currently as a Technical Director at PGNiG Technologie S.A., he supervises, among others, design and construction of new gas pipelines,” Naftohaz said.

Stańczak is yet another Pole who took an important position at a Ukrainian state-owned company. Since April 2016, Wojciech Balczun has been in charge of the state-owned railways

Ukrzaliznycia. While in October, the former Minister of Transport Sławomir Nowak started working as the head of Ukraine’s road agency Ukrawtodor.

Ministry of Family: Retirement reform in line with social expectations 

“The regulations that introduce a different retirement age for women and men are correct and in line with social expectations as well as Polish tradition,” explained the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Policy when commenting on the European Commission’s letter on the different retirement age for women and men.

On Monday the ministry received a letter from Commissioner Marianne Thyssen and Vera Jourova on the difference in retirement for men and women. EC believes the different retirement age for both sexes in Poland is a form of discrimination.

“There is no doubt that the regulations that introduce a different retirement age for women and men are correct and in line with social expectations as well as Polish tradition and the original legal situation before 1 October 2017, the period when Poland entered the European Union,” the Ministry’s statement said.

The ministry also stated that the decision to go on retirement was always individually made by the person who acquired that right and upon their request. The ministry also pointed out that despite the fact that the retirement age for men and women was made the same in some other EU states, a different retirement age was still present in Austria, Poland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Lithuania, Romania and Great Britain.

As of 1 October, the retirement age in Poland will be lowered to 60 for women and 65 for men. The rule will pertain to both retirement systems – the universal one and the one for farmers. When it comes to farmers, until the end of 2017, they will be able, after fulfilling certain terms, to start an early retirement – women at 55 and men at 60. The same rule will pertain to judges and prosecutors, depending on their years of service.

Woźniak: new LNG delivery contracts next year 

Maciej Woźniak Vice-President of the Management Board at PGNiG told Reuters that in mid-2018 the company would sign short- and mid-term contracts for LNG deliveries.

Donald Trump’s June visit in Warsaw increased expectations about the delivery of American LNG to Poland.

“For a few months we have been in talks with our partners on further LNG supplies to Poland. Of course we are talking not only to American contractors,” Woźniak said.

So far PGNiG signed a delivery contract for LNG with Qatar’s Qatargas. In March 2017 the Polish company signed an additional contract for delivery, which means by 2034 Poland will be importing 2.9 bcm of Qatar gas.

Currently the LNG terminal’s capacity is 5 bcm. In the future it will be increased to 7.5 bcm.

“We are also planning mid and short term contracts,” Woźniak stated. “We’d like to enter the second half of 2018 with a supply portfolio constructed in this way,” he added.

Reuters also stressed that PGNiG was an active buyer of LNG on the spot market. This year tankers from the USA and Norway reached the Polish shore.

The Vice-President also informed that by the end of 2017 the company will accept either one or two LNG deliveries.

“We see more and more clearly that when it comes to LNG we are dealing with a buyer’s market. According to forecasts this could last until 2020 and we want to benefit from it,” Woźniak explained.

Currently the company buys the bulk of the gas on the basis of a long-term contract with Gazprom. The agreement will expire in 2022.

Poland approaching the limit of economic development

According to a report prepared by the Polish Development Fund (PFR) presented by the Ministry of Economic Development, in order to make up its economic backlog, Poland has to have strong institutions. The experts believe that after 30 years of development, Poland is approaching the 40% income threshold of the richest country in the world, the US. According to the president of the PFR Paweł Borys, in order to overcome that barrier Poland needs to become a leader of world economy.

The report says Poland should limit its debt to foreign investors. Vice-Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that since the government assumed office its participation dropped from 57 to 53%.

Another precondition for quicker development are efficient institutions. Morawiecki believes that strengthening state institutions results in, among others, increased tax revenue.

Experts admit as well that Poland needs a new socio-economic model, which will ensure economic stability and level the playing field for its citizens.

The PFR announced it will publish cyclical reports on the Polish economy.