Polish Briefing 29 August, 2017 9:30 am   
Editorial staff

Polish Briefing: EU directive will force Poland to modernize power plants. Gazprom worried about US gas

What goes on in Poland on the 29th of August.

EU directive will force Poland to modernize power plants 

The majority of Polish power plants do not meet the EU emissions standards. The country has four years to change that.

By 2021 Poland’s coal-fired power plants and large factories will have to be modernized and equipped with modern technologies, which will maximally limit emissions into the atmosphere. This is a requirement included in a directive adopted in April.

The goal of the new regulations is to significantly lower the number of sicknesses and premature deaths caused by coal combustion. In order for this to happen there can be no exceptions because so far 36 out of Poland’s 45 coal-fired power plants use special treatment and reduced emission standards.

The government is protecting the mining industry, but we still do not have an energy policy. Poland still does not have a long-term, comprehensive energy policy until 2050, which would determine the country’s course. Today we are just about putting out fires and patching holes, such as the crises in the mining industry.

In April the EU Member States adopted the Best Available Practices for combustion plants, such as power plants or factories, which emit a lot of pollutants into the atmosphere.

Gazprom increasingly worried about US gas

Russia’s Gazprom, the biggest gas producer in the world, wants to pay half a billion Euros for monitoring US gas. The company hopes it will help it to compete with the US gas, which is entering our continent in bigger and bigger numbers.

A US LNG tanker entered the port of Klaipeda in Lithuania. This is yet another delivery of the US commodity to our region. The first historical supply arrived at Poland’s Świnoujście terminal back in June.

The situation is a threat to Gazprom. This is because the Russian gas is being pushed out from our market by US LNG. So far Gazprom is keeping its dominant position, but this may change. A few states, including Poland have straightforwardly declared that they prefer to buy the commodity from other sources for security reasons. Either way Gazprom has only itself to blame. First, because it artificially increased the cost of the gas for consumers from our region and second, because it halted the deliveries unexpectedly.

Sieci: Gas walkover

The Sieci weekly reported what happened behind the scenes of the unfavorable gas contract that Poland signed with Russia in 2010. The weekly acquired access to classified negotiation instructions of the PO-PSL government.

“The gas contract from 29 October 2010 is one of the biggest sins of the previous government. A series of incomprehensible actions was taken regarding a strategic area of the state’s security to make Moscow happy. The most important ones include: foregoing about PLN 1 bn, which Gazprom owed us, foregoing millions in profit from EuRoPol Gaz; changing the company’s organization structure to significantly disadvantage Poland, planning to prolong the dependence on overpriced Russian gas by 15 years and finally foregoing the diversification of the supply sources,” the weekly wrote.

Sieci also reminded that the negotiations on a new Polish-Russian gas deal started after the Russian-Ukrainian intermediary RosUkrEnergo stopped delivering gas to Poland at the beginning of 2009. The company covered a quarter of Polish gas imports.