Polish Briefing 4 August, 2017 9:00 am   
Editorial staff

Polish Briefing: Trump signed the sanctions bill against Russia. Energy companies draft a special list

What goes on in Poland on the 4th of August.

EC’s decision enables Gazprom to flood Central and Eastern Europe with gas from Nord Stream 

As correctly predicted Russia’s Gazprom increased its usage of the OPAL pipeline, which is Nord Stream’s branch in Germany. Thus, it can up deliveries via this route to the detriment of the transmission via Ukraine and Slovakia.

According to Wiedomosti, Gazprom increased gas deliveries via OPAL. The blockade lasted six months, but as of 2 August the company is allowed to use 90% of the pipeline’s capacity. Half of the capacity was granted to Gazprom on the basis of the EC decision, which excluded it from antitrust regulations.

The remaining 40% Gazprom acquired through auctions. The dispute between Gazprom and Poland’s PGNiG is being handled by the Court of Justice of the European Union. After six months of deliberation, the Court decided to unfreeze the decision until a sentence is issued.

In result OPAL’s usage increased from 56 to 71.5 bcm a day, this is according to OPAL Gastransport data, which is the Nord Stream’s branch’s operator. The gas flow in OPAL increased at the cost of transmission via Ukraine and Slovakia. According to Slovakia’s operator Eustream the deliveries via the Veľké Kapušany entry point decreased on 3 August by 13.4 bcm, from 161 to 147.6 bcm in comparison to the previous day. Later they increased to 155.1 bcm.

Trump signed the sanctions bill against Russia

Yesterday President Donald Trump signed the act on expanding sanctions against Russia, the White House informed. The bill, which was adopted by an overwhelming majority in the US Congress last week is a reaction to Russia’s interference in US presidential elections.

The bill, which has been debated on by the Congress since February and which has enjoyed the support of the two main parties provides for stricter sanctions against Russia and new restrictions on Iran and North Korea.

The new sanctions will impact members of the Russian government in response to the fact that Russia tried to influence the result of US presidential elections in 2016. It will also expand economic sanctions related to US-Russian trade and investment exchange.

Despite the overwhelming support the bill received by both chambers of the US Congress, some remained skeptical on whether the President would sign the document. The White House made it clear it was against levying new sanctions against Russia because the administration wanted to have flexibility with regard to the policy towards the Kremlin.

Energy companies draft a special list

Energy companies have declared that if the summer increase in energy demand forced them to limit the supply, they have prepared procedures for efficient communication with clients at risk of limitations in energy supply. This pertains to about 8 thousand entities across the country.

According to PSE, the Polish grid operator, the power demand on Tuesday in Poland broke its latest record and was 23 215 MW. The previous one took place on 28 June and reached 22 883 MW. The main reason behind the summer energy demand peaks is massive usage of air condition during the heat.

According to specialists, despite the heat wave, the adverse circumstances, which caused blackouts back in August 2015 in the country, have not taken place this time. In 2015 the problem of high temperatures was amplified by low river water levels, which is why units that used river water for cooling had to limit production. The power shortage caused the introduction of the so-called degrees of limitation of power supply. If this happened again, limiting the supply could impact almost 8 thousand companies and institutions.

Rafako wants to save Polish power plants from penalties worth billions

Rafako expects that the amount of orders related to the so-called BAT conclusions that will enter into force in September will increase next year on the market. The company will want to acquire the medium-scale ones as an element that will stabilize its portfolio, Agnieszka Wasilewska-Semail Rafako’s Director General informed ISBnews.

“The BAT conclusions will enter into force in September. We will be looking for projects between PLN 80-150-200 million, which means those which stabilize the portfolio,” Wasilewska-Semail said in an interview for ISBnews.

In her opinion, because there is no clear schedule on the modernization of the heating and professional sectors in Poland, it is unclear in what order the BAT-related orders will enter the market. Every energy company has a different policy of assets modernization and it cannot be excluded that we will witness the syndrome of announcing last-minute tenders,” she explained.

“This spells serious issues for the market and I am not thinking only about domestic providers. However, we do expect that because the installations have worn out some issues may occur earlier. We think this will mainly happen next year, some of them maybe even this year,” the Director said.

No volunteers to search for shale gas in Poland

“The number of licenses for hydrocarbon prospection from unconventional deposits, including shale gas awarded by the Ministry of Environment is 20, while the number of exploration boreholes is 72 – as at the end of July this year,” the Ministry of Environment announced.

“As at 31 July 2017, in Poland 20 licenses have been issued for prospection and/or exploration of hydrocarbon deposits, including shale gas. The concessions have been granted to 7 Polish and foreign entities (licensees). Until 31 July 2017 they completed 72 exploration boreholes,” the press release said.

This means the number of licenses and exploration boreholes has not changed in comparison to the end of January this year.

According to the ministry the following entities have licenses: Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo (PGNiG) – 1 license, Orlen Upstream – 4, Lotos Petrobaltic – 4, Baltic Oil & Gas (previously Talisman Energy Polska) – 2, Rawicz Energy – 1, ShaleTech Energy – 7, and Strzelecki Energia – 1.

Whereas a different statement by the ministry says that the last boreholes were drilled in search of shale gas in 2015.

The total area of the licenses is 15.59 thousand of square km.