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Poland Denies Impact of Nord Stream

You think that for a country relying on Gazprom for about 61% of its natural gas imports, that Poland would be somewhat distressed by the circumventing Nord Stream pipeline going online this week, allowing Russia the possibility to cut or curtail supplies during price disputes without sacrificing delivery of gas further west.

Not so, says Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, though he hasn’t changed his view that Nord Stream was “a waste of money” given cheaper overland routes.

Mr. Sikorski said that Poland—bypassed by Nord Stream—isn’t heavily dependent on natural gas and will be able to diversify suppliers to ensure energy security.

“Gas isn’t all that important in our energy mix. It provides just 14% of Poland’s energy,” Mr. Sikorski said. A third of that is from Poland–enough to supply all Polish households’ gas needs. Imports are used by industry, mainly for fertilizer production, he said.

Hang on a minute here … it’s true that after the 2009 gas wars, Poland stepped up the diversification effort, with an LNG terminal on the Baltic ready to go online in 2014, as well as hyperactive development of shale gas reserves, which may at some point contain approximately 5.2 trillion cubic meters.

Seems like Sikorski is getting a little ahead of the curve – Poland still has at least 3-5 more very cold winters coming up, and even after the gas starts coming in from Qatar, there will not be a sufficient amount to pressure Gazprom for lower prices.  Nord Stream does still matter, even if Poland would prefer to pretend that it doesn’t.