Poland is going to change Gazprom to the American LNG

The Russian company will have to make concessions in the struggle to maintain market share.
Polish gas company PGNiG reported that it signed agreements on the terms of LNG supplies with US Venture Global LNG and Sempra Energy. Obliging 20-year contracts for the purchase of 2 million tons of LNG per year for each of the companies are scheduled to be signed later, the beginning of supplies is scheduled for 2022 and 2023.

The acquisition of LNG in the US will allow not only to continue diversifying imports after 2022 (the end of the contract with Gazprom - Vedomosti), but also to develop our trade competencies and ensure the presence of PGNiG as a global player in the LNG market, the Polish company quotes its words general director Peter Wozniak.

In 2017, the consumption of natural gas in Poland amounted to 19.1 billion cubic meters. m (according to BP), own production - about 4 billion cubic meters. Almost 70% of imported gas is supplied by Gazprom. The formula of the price in the contract, which has been in force since 1996, was never disclosed by the parties, but PGNiG repeatedly complained that the cost of Russian gas is overstated, and in 2016 even filed a lawsuit in Stockholm arbitration - demanded a price review. The extension of this contract has not yet been reported. The Polish side stated that it could completely abandon Russian gas after the contract expired.

In total, Poland can receive from 2022-2023. up to 6 million tons of LNG (or 8.2 billion cubic meters) per year - in addition to agreements with US companies, PGNiG has a contract with Qatargas. Together with its own production and supply via the Baltic Pipe pipeline (designed capacity - 10 billion cubic meters, planned to be built in 2022), this will potentially allow Poland to stop buying Russian gas.

The director of the energy center of the Skolkovo business school, Tatyana Mitrova, recalls that Lithuania was also going to abandon Russian gas - when the construction of the regasification terminal in Klaipeda began. And then, having obtained favorable conditions from Gazprom, continued to receive Russian gas, but on more attractive terms, Mitrova said. She regards the agreements with the American companies as an invitation from Gazprom to the talks.

LNG from the United States will cost Poland much more than Russian gas, Vygon Consulting's research director Maria Belova said: "According to the European Commission, in 2017 Russian gas cost Poles at $ 222 per 1,000 cubic meters. m. American LNG even without the cost of regasification would cost $ 30 more. In 2023, with the projected gas price for Henry Hub at $ 137 per 1,000 cubic meters, m (IEA data), gas from the US in Poland will cost a little more than $ 300 per 1000 cubic meters. m. " The price of Russian gas in 2023, especially if the component of European hubs is included in the formula of the new contract, will be about $ 255 per 1000 cubic meters. m, she suggests.

Poland is 5% of Russia's gas exports to Europe, the sixth largest buyer in Europe with the potential for growth as coal mining is decommissioned, Mitrova recalls, fighting for it is worth anyway. Gazprom is not interested in zeroing gas supplies in this direction, Belova agrees. "Declaring the desire not to extend gas relations with Gazprom after 2022, Poland seeks to strengthen the negotiating position," believes Belova. - Most likely, we will talk about a smaller volume of purchases - not 10 billion, but 5 billion cubic meters. m per year - and a shorter contract. "

It will not only be a matter of binding to spot prices, but also, Mitrova suggests, about an additional discount to the prices of Western European hubs - to supply more closely. "It is not a fact that Gazprom will make such concessions, especially since it will give Poland the opportunity to profitably resell Russian gas to its neighbors, which is quite unpleasant for Russia from both a political and an economic point of view," concludes Mitrova.

With excess gas, it's more likely to be about LNG trading from the US than about its deliveries to the same Ukraine, Belova said: "These volumes can be diverted to anywhere in the world where PGNiG can sell it more."