WARSAW. INTERFAX CENTRAL EUROPE - Polish gas monopolist (3 PLN, -1,72%) would like to sign a five-year contract for additional supplies of approximately 3 bln cubic meters of natural gas a year in order to cover rising demand on gas in Poland and to make up for the shortages caused by the halt of gas supplies by RosUkrEnergo, in which Russian Gazprom owns a 50% stake, PGNiG's chief executive Michal Szubski told Interfax in an exclusive interview.
"There is no formal reason why we could not sign another contract with Gazprom or Gazprom Export for additional supplies of 2.5-3 bln cubic meters per year," Szubski said. "In my opinion, signing a contract for the medium term - let's say, five years - is the optimal scenario for both sides. In this way we would also avoid changing the provisions in the Yamal contract."
Russian gas monopolist Gazprom has recently indicated it would be willing to provide additional amounts of gas to Poland, but not before the government-level renegotiation of the long-term Yamal contract, which is valid until 2022.
Szubski said Gazprom has the right to make such a request and the talks should be approached in good faith.
"Since, as of January 1, 2009, RosUkrEnergo has not been fulfilling its contractual obligations, we are holding discussions with our Russian partners in order to find a solution that will make up the shortfall in our gas supplies," Szubski said.
"As we know, the Russians want the signing of a contract for the supply of additional gas to be accompanied by intergovernmental talks. I think they have the right to make such a request. These talks should take place in good faith, in a spirit of partnership," he added.
Earlier in February Poland's Economy Ministry announced that it began a formal procedure to carry out these negotiations.
According to the Yamal contract, the amounts of gas delivered to Poland will increase after 2009, but it will also not cover Poland's entire demand, Szubski said.
"The Yamal contract volumes of gas will increase in 2010 and once again in 2015," Szubski said. "We will take these increased volumes in compliance with the agreement, but they will not solve our problems."
Even with the higher amounts of gas under the Yamal contract after 2009, Poland will be 3 bln cbm of gas a year short because of rising domestic demand, which is Poland needs a mid-term agreement for additional supplies, Szubski added.
"In 2010, we estimate that we will be short of some 3 bln cubic meters because of an increase in gas sales. Even after the increase of the Yamal contract volumes, a mid-term agreement is needed. We would like to take at least a part of this gas via a new delivery point," Szubski said.
"There are areas in the north-eastern part of Poland where the gas network should be developed. This is why on many occasions we have suggested taking gas from the Yamal pipeline at the Zambrow station, which could become a source of gas for this region. Since the real capacity of the Yamal pipeline is higher than originally planned, I do not see this issue as a big problem if the Russians are ready to cooperate," he added.