Polish regulator green lights Russian 2022 gas deal

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Polish regulators on Wednesday approved an agreement on deliveries of Russian natural gas to Poland until 2022 signed Monday in Moscow, Poland's Gaz-System gas pipeline operator said Wednesday.

"The agreement under which Gaz-System will be the operator of the Polish section of Yamal gas pipeline has received the positive opinion of the Energy Regulatory Office (URE)," the statement said.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Wednesday his government would approve the agreement automatically after the green light from the regulator.

Under the agreement, Russia will deliver gas to Poland until 2022, while the transit of Russian natural gas through Polish territory further west via the Yamal-Europe pipeline is contracted until 2019, according to the Russian gas Goliath Gazprom.

The first version of the agreement, struck in January between Gazprom and Poland's PGNiG national gas company, had been contested by the EU, which wanted a guarantee that other gas operators would have access to the Polish section of the pipeline, in line with European competition regulations.

Gazprom says that Poland's Gaz-System is the technical operator of the pipeline on the Polish section, adding that other operators will also have external access.

Transit tariffs for the pipeline are set by EuRoPol Gaz, a company owned in equal part by Gazprom, 48 percent, and PGNiG, 48 percent, which currently manages the Polish section of the Yamal-Europe pipeline.

Russia will gradually increase its gas deliveries to Poland from 9.7 billion cubic meters in 2010 to 11 billion cubic meters in 2012, a volume that should remain stable in subsequent years.

Poland covers 30 percent of its gas needs from domestic sources, while over 40 percent are imported from Russia and the remainder from other countries.

© 2010 AFP

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