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Poland seeks to avoid Russian 'gas blackmail'

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 31.03.2014 11:54
Prime Minister Donald Tusk visited an expanding underground gas storage facility on Sunday in south east Poland, stressing that such investments are essential in combating 'gas blackmail' by Russia.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk (3L) visits the gas storage facility in Husow, Sunday. Photo: PAP/Darek Delmanowicz

The facility at Husow is due to increase by 100 million square metres this year, with part of the costs covered by the EU.

“Thanks to investments such as at Husow, it would be hard to blackmail Poland today with the threat of having its gas cut off,” he said.

Tusk's visit followed his declaration on Saturday that the EU should form an energy union, with the Polish prime minister arguing that the Russian-Ukrainian crisis has shown “that Europe must strive towards solidarity when it comes to energy.”

Speaking on Sunday he said that Poland “could be an example of how the European energy union that we proposed should look,” through an energy mix.

According to Tusk, the project should include the 'rehabilitation' of coal as an energy source (Poland wants to make use of new technology to combat emissions harmful to the environment), the exploitation of shale gas resources, and imports of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

Poland is still dependent on coal as a power source, and it is currently engaged in a far-reaching programme to tap into its shale gas potential. A terminal to import LNG is due to be completed this year in Swinoujscie, northern Poland.

Tusk has also proposed common EU purchases of gas, which could give rise to more favourable prices.

The expansion of the underground gas storage facility at Husow is expected to cost 83.2 million zloty (19.9 million euro), with about half the cost covered by the EU. (nh)

Source: PAP/IAR

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