July 16, 2009 / 4:09 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-PGNiG to apply for 1 blm cubic mtrs of Nabucco gas

* PGNiG to take part in Nabucco open season

* Eyes net profit in the second quarter

WARSAW, July 16 (Reuters) - Poland’s gas monopoly PGNiG PGNI.WA will apply for 1 billion cubic metres of gas from the planned Nabucco project to reduce its dependence on Russia, its chief executive said.

PGNiG imports about two-thirds of gas it sells from Russia but would like to cut that share to about 40 percent, in part from the Nabucco pipeline aimed at supplying Europe with gas from the Middle East and the Caspian region.

“We want to receive the gas from Baumgarten through the Czech Republic and through an interconnector that will be built by Gaz System,” Szubski told reporters.

Gaz System is a state-owned gas pipelines operator responsible for building a liquefied natural gas terminal in Swinoujscie and a number of connectors that would link Poland’s gas pipeline system with its neighbours.

The Nabucco project, EU’s attempt to diversify its gas supplies away from Russia, has gained momentum after a January row between Ukraine and Russia over gas prices left some countries without any supplies and others with reduced deliveries.

The link between the Polish and Czech gas systems has to be extended in order to allow for the gas from Nabucco to flow into Poland.

Szubski added PGNiG would remain in the red in the first half of the year — despite turning a net profit in the second quarter.

PGNiG has suffered two consecutive quarters of net losses because it has had to buy Russian gas at prices significantly higher than state regulated tariffs for its customers. But import prices have fallen more recently.

“The second quarter alone will end with a profit, but we are still not making up for the losses sufficiently to end the first half with a net profit,” Szubski told reporters, blaming the weak zloty.

PGNiG paid 2.8 billion zlotys for imported gas in the first quarter, up 86 percent from a year ago, pushing it to a net loss of 399 million zlotys.

PGNiG shares fell 1.5 percent on Thursday. The stock has risen 12 percent this year versus a 7 percent gain of Warsaw’s main index WIG20 .WIG20. (Reporting by Pawel Bernat, writing by Patryk Wasilewski, Editing by Michael Kahn)

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