Following the publication of an article by one of Poland’s liberal news websites suggesting that the Polish FM Jacek Czaputowicz said that he “does not rule out that Poland could receive gas from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline”, the ministry published an official statement that Poland opposes Nord Stream 2.
“Poland opposes this project, which in our estimation is incongruent with the goals of the EU energy policy. In our opinion, the pipeline would serve to further monopolisation and not diversification of gas supplies to Europe,” reads the statement.
Allegedly and according to the news website, the Polish FM said during a Polish foreign policy debate, hosted by the Warsaw-based Bathory Foundation, that Poland “will be buying [gas] as cheap as possible, perhaps from the US, perhaps from Germany.”
This apparently misunderstood statement allegedly came as an answer to a question about what Poland would do, should the multi annual contract with Gazprom be concluded before the Baltic Pipe is completed and if Germany was to offer to receive gas from beyond the Polish-German border?
The Polish foreign ministry was quick to quote the actual wording of what Mr Czaputowicz said: “Concerning Gazprom and the Baltic Pipe, if it came to [not finalising the construction on time], [but I think] we should wait, I hope that construction will be completed on time, [but if we won’t meet the deadline,] then we would buy gas where it is cheapest, perhaps from the US, from where we would be shipping it to [our] LNG terminal, or perhaps from Germany, provided the price is good. Still, I hope that this will be solved.”
The ministry also wrote that Mr Czaputowicz repeated many a time in his statements, also during the debate at the Bathory Foundation, that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has a geopolitical dimension and is a deleterious investment from the angle of the energy security of Central Europe and the whole EU.
The ministry has also written in its statement that it staunchly protests the “manipulation” of the FM’s words as committed by the news website and asserts that the website’s article “misleads” its readers.
Game of pipes
Poland’s energy diversity policies are largely driven by its long-standing dependence on Russian gas. Recent examples, such as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, have shown the Kremlin’s willingness to use gas as a tool of energy blackmail.
The construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, slammed by Poland, the Baltic States and US President Donald Trump alike, is likely to increase Western Europe’s reliance on gas imported from Russia while at the same time exposing Eastern Europe to undue influence from Moscow as cutting off supplies to the region would no longer affect the flow of gas into Germany and further west.
With a planned capacity of 10 bn cubic metres, the Baltic Pipe project, connecting Poland to Norwegian gas reserves via Denmark, would cover a large proportion of Poland’s demand for gas, currently estimated at around 16 bn cubic metres a year. Only about 25 percent of this amount is covered by domestic sources, forcing Poland to import most of its gas from abroad, with Russia still currently accounting for the majority of imports.