The Polish prime minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz has called upon European nations to stand together to ensure security of energy supply in a self pened newspaper article.
Writing in the Financial Times newspaper on February 10, Mr Marcinkiewicz argued that the European Union and NATO needed to work together to combat the looming threat to the region’s energy supply.
He went on to describe how the Russia-Ukraine gas crisis at the start of the year had shown how real the supply issue was. Basically, a dispute between third countries directly touched a number of EU members. More recently – due this time perhaps to climate conditions – natural gas supplies again have been limited, Mr Marcinkiewicz said.
His solution to the ‘fundamental’ question of supply security is a treaty on energy agreed between EU member states and the members of the NATO alliance.
It would be an expression of solidarity for all parties, uniting them in the face of any energy threat provoked by either a cut or a diminution of supply sources that may occur because of natural disasters, disruption of wide distribution and supply systems or political decisions by suppliers, the prime minister explained in the article.
Poland is especially concerned by the growing reliance on Russia for supplies of oil and gas. Currently, according to Datamonitor/IEA figures, 91% of imported gas to Poland comes from the former Soviet Union, while indigenous production meets less than 40% of demand for gas in the country.
The nascent construction of the North European gas (NEG) pipeline from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea provides a further challenge to Polish supply, with politicians fearing that the country – like neighboring Ukraine – may find itself isolated from the main export route for Russian gas to Europe.
Plans to diversify the import of gas supply by building a pipeline from Norway have foundered thus far. Sources in Warsaw have told Datamonitor that many in Poland believe this plan stalled because the proposed pipeline would have to cross the agreed NEG route being developed by a Gazprom-led consortium. Many Poles apparently feel that there was a political, as well as an economic and engineering, element to the decision.
Poland has instead shifted focus towards developing LNG import infrastructure, with local energy firm PGNiG and Gaz de France working on a feasibility study to be completed in 2006.