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RPT-INTERVIEW-Poland eyes more U.S. LNG supplies following Trump's visit- minister
June 26, 2017 / 6:04 AM / 3 months ago

RPT-INTERVIEW-Poland eyes more U.S. LNG supplies following Trump's visit- minister

(Repeats June 23 story with no changes to text)

* LNG supplies to be discussed at Trump’s visit to Poland

* Poland eyes more U.S. LNG deliveries in future

* U.S. LNG supplies could undermine Gazprom’s position

By Agnieszka Barteczko

WARSAW, June 26 (Reuters) - Poland hopes a visit from U.S. President Donald Trump next month will pave the way for liquefied natural gas (LNG) deals with U.S. producers, a Polish government energy official said.

Poland opened its first LNG terminal a year ago in the Baltic city of Swinoujscie, near the German border, as part of an effort to cut its dependence on Russian gas and has ambitions to become a regional gas hub.

State-run Polish gas firm PGNiG received its first and only U.S. spot delivery of LNG from Cheniere Energy earlier this month.

U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to lay the groundwork for new deals to sell LNG to Poland and possibly elsewhere in Europe during a visit to Warsaw next month, a senior Polish official said.

“Energy issues are seen as a significant element of security both in Warsaw and Washington,” Piotr Naimski, the government’s official responsible for key energy infrastructure, told Reuters this week.

“In this sense, for sure the issue of energy cooperation will be discussed. In particular, this will concern the possibility of LNG supplies perhaps even to Europe, and definitely to Poland and the region,” Naimski added.

Trump will visit Poland on July 6 on his way to a G20 summit in Germany. Military and energy security are expected to be the main topics of talks in Warsaw.

Naimski reiterated that Poland, which consumes around 16 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas annually, could be reselling the LNG it takes in Swinoujscie to Ukraine, when a cross-border link is developed, and then further to southern Europe.

“The highest political level talks are not the ones during which the issues of specific trade agreements are resolved. They rather create a certain climate for cooperation,” Naimski said.

The only long-term deal PGNiG has regarding LNG supplies is with Qatargas, which in March agreed to double deliveries to Poland to 2 million tonnes (3 bcm) per year.

“I would expect that in future, apart from further spot deliveries, mid- and long-term agreements on U.S. LNG supplies will also be signed,” Naimski said.

The capacity of the Swinoujscie terminal is 5 bcm, which will be expanded to 7.5 bcm. Considering the 3 bcm of LNG deliveries from Qatar, there is still room for shipments from the U.S., Naimski said.

He reiterated that if U.S. LNG supplies are competitive enough to hit the European market, they could “significantly” undermine Russia’s Gazprom position.

Poland fears Gazprom’s plans to double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream undersea gas pipeline to Europe will further strengthen its influence in Europe. It has therefore welcomed proposed U.S. sanctions on Russian energy projects, including Nord Stream 2.

“The U.S. Senate’s proposal is an expression of concern of the American politicians by the strengthening Russian domination when it comes to gas supplies to Europe. In Poland we appreciate that there is an understanding of our stance in the U.S.,” Naimski said.

Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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