Poland Reluctant to Host New Pipes with Russian Natural Gas

April 8, 2013

Dow Jones reports that Poland is reluctant to allow the construction of new pipelines that would carry natural gas from Russia through its territory and sees no need for additional volumes of gas from OAO Gazprom (>> Gazprom OAO), Poland's treasury minister said Friday.

Mikolaj Budzanowski told reporters Poland's priorities include exploration for its own natural gas, while new pipelines will be treated "with caution."

Earlier Friday Gazprom said its chief executive officer, Alexei Miller, had signed a memorandum of understanding with the CEO of Polish pipeline operator Europol Gaz, Miroslaw Dobrut. Europol Gaz is a joint venture between Gazprom and Polish state-controlled gas firm PGNiG SA (PGN.WA).

Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk Friday said he knew nothing of the deal. Mr. Budzanowski, the treasury minister, on Friday afternoon said Gazprom put a heavy spin on the memorandum.

"I'd like to deny reports that an agreement was signed on the construction of a new network of gas pipeline network via Poland's territory," Mr. Budzanowski said. "There's no such agreement that could oblige any company to go ahead with a project like this on Poland's territory."

Both Poland and Ukraine, which would be circumvented by the new pipeline, should continue being prominent transit countries for Russian gas, he added.

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