Poland, Gazprom Fail to Agree about 2003 Gas Supplies

The Polish Oil and Gas Industry company has officially informed about the failure of talks with the Gazprom gas company, Russia's largest, concerning gas supplies for the year 2003. Instead, the Polish company has signed an agreement on gas sales with Gazexport, Gazprom's subsidiary. This is according to the IAR news agency. The Polish company's statement followed press reports to the effect that its talks with Gazprom had failed. However, even until yesterday, the Polish gas monopoly had maintained that an agreement with Gazexport had been signed some time in December 2002. The Polish company said that the agreement for the supplies of natural gas to Poland had covered the month of January only and follow up negotiations with Gazprom had been scheduled for January 19.

In 1993, the governments of the Russian Federation and Poland agreed on the joint completion of the project concerning the construction of the Polish part of the Yamal-Europe gas pipe. The EuroPolGas joint company was created to do the work. However, the project was fulfilled only in part. The pipeline became operational in the year 2000. At this time, its annual throughput amounts to 20 billion cubic meters. Gazprom and the Polish company have never come to terms as concerned the financing of the construction of the three projected compressor stations. Had that been achieved, the annual throughput of the pipe would have reached 33 billion cubic meters. Early in 2002, the Polish company had confirmed its preparedness to fulfill its part, yet the talks that followed never came to a mutually agreeable conclusion as to the terms of financing.

As reported earlier, in the fall of 2002, Gazprom said it was prepared to build a go-around pipeline between the Yamal peninsula and Europe. The land portion of it is supposed to be 568 km-long, the other 1,089 km-long part laid on the bed of the Baltic Sea. The cost of the construction of the land portion alone comes to USD 1 billion, that of the sea portion - USD 2.8 billion. The projected annual throughput of the pipeline is supposed to amount to 19.7 billion cubic meters. The launching of the pipe is scheduled for the year 2007. It is supposed to reach its full rated throughput in 2009. This project completed, the gas network of Russia will become directly connected to that of Europe.

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