Sputnik has spoken to energy expert Andrzej Szczęśniak to find out how Qatar's decision is going to affect the oil and gas market, especially Poland.
Andrzej Szczęśniak: Regardless of what Qatar says, I consider this decision to be more political and strategic rather than technical. At the moment, Doha is in a situation where it is the enemy and the object of attacks and pressure from Saudi Arabia, which is OPEC's largest member. Qatar is not a significant producer of crude oil, that's why it's leaving.
Sputnik: What does this mean specifically for Poland?
Andrzej Szczęśniak: Qatar's decision doesn't mean anything to us. Poland has been buying LNG from Qatar and will go on doing that.
Sputnik: Poland is very interested in diversification of gas supply, and intends to implement the Baltic Pipe project in cooperation with Denmark and Norway. The global media, but not Polish ones, report that Norway's and the North Sea's gas resources are not very large. What does Warsaw think about this?
Besides, in this part of Europe we have the dominance of Russian gas that is rather cheap, and easy to get, which is extremely important in winter times. By using the word "diversification" Poland actually wants to move away from Russian gas, and turn to some other producers, like Qatar or the United States. Gas from there is going to come to come to Poland in huge quantities, thus replacing Russian gas; however, it's going to be much more expensive and will put more pressure on the pocket of the average Polish resident and Polish enterprises.
Sputnik: For many years, Poland has been buying natural gas from Russia under the Yamal contract, which is expiring in 2022. Is it possible that Poland will completely end the supply of Russian gas?
Andrzej Szczęśniak: It is virtually impossible to give up the raw material from Russia, because this part of Europe, including Germany and all of southern Europe, is a zone of Russian gas; and they take advantage of its geographic proximity and reliability. In my opinion, this diversification project is more about having such players as the United States or Qatar on the Polish market. However, I'm sure they won't be able to replace Russia.
The economy is working here and there is no strength to eliminate the cheapest product on the market, unless someone (in Washington) introduces sanctions, against Russian oil and gas similar to those against Iran.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Andrzej Szczęśniak and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.