Poland markets hungry for more LNG, study finds

By MARYNIA KRUK

WARSAW -- Poland's market could absorb more imported liquefied natural gas than the amount that was planned for a new terminal under construction on the Baltic coast, the terminal's owner said Wednesday after surveying 22 potential customers.

Polskie LNG, a subsidiary of Poland's state-owned natural gas pipeline operator, will now calculate the commercial viability of increasing the regasification capacity of the incomplete LNG terminal to 7.5 billion cubic meters a year from 5 bcm.

Polish households and businesses currently consume about 14 bcm of natural gas per year.

Potential buyers of LNG include power utilities with plans to build gas-fired power plants, chemical and petrochemical makers like Grupa Azoty SA and PKN Orlen SA, and state-controlled gas utility PGNiG SA.

Poland plans to complete the terminal, located near the city and seaport of Swinoujscie close to the German border, in mid-2014.

The government considers the project to be strategic because it will give the central European country the option to import gas from all over the world, a contrast to its current dependence on Russia. The two countries have historically had strained relations.

Poland also produces about 4 billion cubic meters of gas domestically, enough to cover slightly under a third of annual consumption.

The rules of Polskie LNG's market "screening" don't allow it to disclose the names of the 22 companies it surveyed, its spokesman Maciej Mazur said in an email. "They include some of the largest power companies in Poland."

Mr. Mazur added they have received responses from companies in Norway, Ukraine, and the Netherlands, but not from the Czech Republic or Slovakia to date.

"Other foreign companies, including some from Germany and Sweden, didn't take a formal part in the survey, but expressed interest in using the Swinoujscie terminal's capacity," Polskie LNG said.


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