February 11, 2008 / 11:24 AM / 10 years ago

PGNiG signs preliminary gas deal with Iran

WARSAW, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Polish gas monopoly PGNiG PGNI.WA signed a preliminary deal with an Iranian state-owned oil company to cooperate on managing already-discovered gas reserves, it said on Monday.

Poland, which depends on Russia for 48 percent of its gas imports, has made diversify of supply a priority and the deal with Iran could potentially pave the way for such a diversification.

In recent months, PGNiG signed several deals that could allow it to import of gas from countries such as Libya and Denmark.

“In Tehran, PGNiG signed a letter of intent with Iranian Offshore Oil Company in the area of cooperation related to managing already-discovered gas and condensate reserves,” PGNiG said in a statement.

Iran sits on nearly a fifth of the world’s gas and wants to export more of it by cooling the gas into liquid form.

Decades of under-investment have left Iran’s reserves, the planet’s largest, largely untapped.

Iran does not currently produce any liquefied natural gas (LNG), but plans to supply several companies -- including Austria’s OMV (OMVV.VI), Petrochina, E.ON Ruhrgas EONG.DE and Gaz de France GAZ.PA -- if facilities to liquify are built.

PGNiG spokeswoman Joanna Zakrzewska said cooperation with the Iranian company could lead to LNG supply contracts, which are indispensible for the Polish company to go ahead with construction of LNG terminal on the Baltic coast.

PGNiG shares slipped 0.5 percent by 1052 GMT. (Reporting by Marynia Kruk; Editing by David Holmes)

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