Diversification of sources and routes and switching to cleaner fuels are key items on Poland’s energy agenda. The country, which imports most of its gas from one source – Russia, - is making a big step towards energy security, with co-financing from the EBRD.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is providing a PLN 300 million (€75 million) 12-year loan to Gaz-System SA, Poland’s national gas company, for the benefit of Polskie LNG - a company created to build the first liquefied gas terminal in Poland and in the whole of central and eastern Europe. This will also be the first re-gasification terminal in the whole of the EBRD’s region of operations. The new plant will start receiving liquefied gas from Qatar and other suppliers from around the world in 2014.
The plant in the town of Swinoujscie on the far Baltic coast will be able to re-gasify enough liquefied gas to supply a third of the country’s consumption – 5 billion cubic metres (bcm) per annum. Currently Poland consumes 15 bcm of which it imports 10 bcm, mainly from Russia, and produces the rest domestically. The LNG terminal will be connected to the national gas system by a new pipeline.
Riccardo Puliti, the EBRD’s Managing Director for Energy and Natural Resources, says: “The significance of this LNG terminal is substantial for energy security in Poland and central Europe as it means diversifying both sources and routes of energy supply. Over the past four years the EBRD has consistently worked on energy security issues in eastern Europe, as well as investing over €600 million in strategic underground gas storage and distribution in the region. Polskie LNG is a big step for the trans-European energy network”.
The EBRD has been involved in the LNG project from the very beginning, encouraging high environmental and social standards. The EBRD also strongly supports the opening up of a third of the plant’s capacity to parties other than the main Polish gas company PGNiG, which will allow new players to enter the Polish market, in line with EU requirements. The EBRD is financing 11 per cent of the project cost; other lenders to the project include the EU, the EIB and Gaz System itself.
Jan Chadam, CEO of Gaz-System, said: “By signing the loan agreement with the EBRD, Gaz-System has finalised the organisation of financing for the LNG terminal in Świnoujscie. The financing structure of this investment proves that our company fulfills the highest standards of investment coordination and that our project is in line with the European policy of development of integrated energy networks. The terminal will raise the security of supply in the European Union and will support the creation of a single European energy market. It is good news for the market, especially for the shippers, who would like to construct their purchase strategy based on the import of LNG”.
The EBRD will continue investing in other projects which will help Poland make a progressive switch from coal to much cleaner fuels for electricity generation. Currently the Bank is considering investing in the construction of a gas-fired plant in Stalowa Wola, as well as investing in renewable energy such as wind.