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Polish energy diversity suffers a setback

A gas pipeline that was meant to deliver gas from the North Sea to Poland is the latest victim of the global recession.
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The Skanled Project Group consortium last Wednesday suspended activity on the offshore pipeline, which was to connect Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Another pipeline was to link Poland to the network via Denmark.

"Despite strong efforts by many stakeholders to succeed with the project, it is Gassco's view that the current economic environment and also subsequent uncertainties related to timing of new field developments on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, have weakened the basis for the project," Thor Otto Lohne, the project's director, said in a statement. Norwegian state-owned Gassco managed the pipeline project.

"The project might be re-launched if the commercial conditions become more favorable in the future," Gassco said in the statement.

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Polish gas monopoly PGNiG is a 15-percent partner in the Skanled consortium.

Disquieting signals have been coming out of Norway for a few weeks, Radosław Dudziński, vice-president of PGNiG's management board, told daily Rzeczpospolita. "Scandinavian companies, and more recently [fertilizer manufacturer] Yara, suggested that they cannot agree with [gas supplier, Norwegian Statoil's] conditions," Dudziński said.

Yara, which was to be the largest recipient of gas from the pipeline, dropped out in March after deciding that it was not economically viable to draw gas from the pipeline.

PGNiG expected to receive around 2.5 billion m3 of gas on a yearly basis, therefore reducing Poland's dependence on gas from Russia. The pipeline was meant to start running in 2013.

Roberto Galea

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