08:34 GMT +313 November 2019
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    In this file photo taken Dec. 11, 2015 at the Baltic port of Swinoujscie, Poland, the giant liquefied natural gas tanker Al Nuaman, carrying some 200,000 cubic meters of liquefied gas from Qatar, arrives in Swonoujscie, the first delivery to the freshly-built LNG terminal, as Poland seeks to cut its dependence on gas deliveries from Russia

    Warsaw Decides to Blow Money on US LNG in Order to 'Wag Finger at Moscow'

    © AP Photo / Lukasz Szelemej, file
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    Poland's pride at signing a deal to receive shipments of liquefied natural gas from across the Atlantic will come at a high cost to consumers, energy analyst Alexey Stepanov told Sputnik Polska.

    On Wednesday, Chief of the Polish President's Cabinet Krzysztof Szczerski and National Security Bureau (BBN) head Pawel Soloch arrived in Washington, where they met with officials from the US State Department and the Defense Department.

    On Thursday, Szczerski was pleased to announce the signing of a contract for the delivery of US liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Poland.

    The deal is a "great achievement," which makes Poland "the very first country in the region to receive deliveries of American gas," Szczerski said.

    ​Poland's PGNiG has signed a contract with Houston-based Cheniere Energy to import the gas, and expects the first tanker to arrive in Poland in early June, CEO Piotr Wozniak said.  He refused to disclose the quantity or price of the purchased gas, Poland's TVP Info reported.

    Alexey Stepanov, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Analytical Center for Energy Policy and Security, told Sputnik Polska that it remains to be seen whether the new agreement will be any more successful than Poland's previous attempts to diversify its energy sources.

    "Poland is always trying to prove, for political reasons, that it can do without Russian gas. It takes all possible opportunities to do so, both real and hypothetical," Stepanov said.

    "One example is the euphoria that came with the discovery of shale gas deposits in Poland. Remember, 5-7 years ago, Warsaw was boasting that Poland would be the largest gas exporter in Central and Eastern Europe. They launched a project, agreed contracts with Western companies to explore the deposits. And what happened? Their Western experts arrived, conducted exploration work — and quickly left without finding anything, convinced that the whole idea was unprofitable.  The same thing could happen with the purchase of LNG from the US."

    "Quite recently the Poles built a LNG terminal for ships and a processing plant at Swinoujscie. Instead of importing cheap gas via a pipeline from Siberia, it was decided to buy gas in Qatar, transport it round the whole of Europe by sea and process it at Swinoujscie. But that turned out to be extremely expensive and unreliable. Now they have come up with an idea to transport liquefied gas from the US."

    Stepanov said that Portugal, when presented with a similar opportunity from the US, declined on the grounds it would be too expensive and unprofitable. In recent years, dozens of LNG terminals and processing plants have been built across Europe, most of which are not in use and simply drain public finances.

    "So, what is the point of supplying liquefied gas from the US to Poland? Firstly, it's nice to bow before Washington and be nice to President Trump, maybe it will come in handy one day!"

    "The second reason is to shake its finger at Moscow again and say, Russian gas is not so important for us in Poland. However, that's what the authorities think, perhaps ordinary Poles are more pragmatic in their thinking," Stepanov said.

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