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Poland's biggest chemicals firm, Grupa Azoty, and the largest refiner, PKN Orlen each told Reuters they were changing the balance of their gas supplies. They are buying less gas from Polish state-controlled gas supplier PGNiG, which gets almost all of its imported gas from Russia under a contract with Gazprom, and increasing the share of gas bought from either the spot market or by concluding long-term contracts with other suppliers.
Poland uses about 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year. Last year 10.9 bcm was imported, of which 8.7 bcm was supplied by Gazprom under its contract with PGNiG. Poland's gas supplies direct from Gazprom are especially precarious because its relations with Moscow are particularly fraught. The shift to alternative sources is possible because Poland is opening up inter-connectors with neighbors to the West and building a new liquefied gas plant on the Baltic, and also because it has liberalized its wholesale gas market. According to Reuters calculations, plans to diversify supply have the potential to cut Russia's share of the market to as little as 15 percent in the next two years. The EU has recently allocated 650 million euros to reduce gas dependence on Russia.
Seven EU Member States are completely or mainly dependent on Russian gas supplies. The EU energy security strategy provides for diversification of sources and routes of gas supplies, including through the development of the internal gas infrastructure in order to reduce this dependence. Earlier in Estonia chairmen of the committees for EU Affairs of Parliaments of the Baltic countries and Poland discussed the development of the single market for gas and the possibility of disconnection of Baltic energy networks from the Russia to enhance energy security.
A forthcoming opening of natural gas terminal in Klaipeda in Lithuania next Monday was highlighted as a positive example of energy security. The parties believe that region's dependence on Russian Gazprom monopoly in the gas sector will decrease thanks to the terminal. The energy security in the region will be strengthened.