Sunday, February 10, 2008

Poland Can Boost Gas Extraction By 50 Per Cent - Deputy Premier

Poland Can Boost Gas Extraction By 50 Per Cent - Deputy Premier
Text of report in English by Polish national independent news agency PAP

Warsaw, 7 February: Coal accounts for 60 pc of Polish energy supplies, oil for 20 pc and only 12 pc comes from natural gas, deputy PM and economy minister Waldemar Pawlak said when addressing the Sejm here Thursday.

He took the floor to provide explanations on diversification of foreign supplies of natural gas.

Pawlak noted that one third of gas consumption was covered by domestic supply and called the diversification issue "a very emotional topic." Total consumption in 2006 amounted to 14.4 bn cubic metres. 7 bn was covered from the so-called Yamal contract, another 2.3 bn from the contract with RosUkrEnergo, and 4.2 bn from domestic resources.

Pawlak said that according to some experts home extraction of gas could be increased by as much as 50 pc. Former governments attached too much importance to gas imports in general, irrespective of the source, he argued.

"If the money spent on gas imports were used to finance the gasification of coal in Poland, which is feasible, it could turn out that we have enough gas at home," Pawlak claimed. "It is important that we focus our efforts on solutions that give us genuine self- reliance and which encourage domestic production," he said.

He did not try to conceal that the government was lukewarm about the great diversification projects promoted by the cabinets of Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, assuming the construction of an LNG terminal in Swinoujscie and signing the so- called Norwegian contract.

"These are commercial projects and will be evaluated by banks. It is not a government's task to judge whether such projects are profitable," Pawlak declared. The LNG terminal project merited a public debate, he added.

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