Poland’s decision to pursue energy independence from Russia

Piotr Naimski, Former Deputy Minister of Economy of Poland explains how Poland decided to pursue energy independence from Russia. Thinking on energy independence started way back in 1991:

F&D: In 1991, when your government was elected, you decided that the country needed to free itself from dependence on Russian natural gas. How did that decision come about?

NAIMSKI: We entered office by the end of the year, and suddenly at the beginning of January, supplies of [Russian] gas started to be lower and lower. At that time, gas was already a substantial part of our energy supplies. We convened a special committee to evaluate which industrial installations should be cut off from our energy supplies in case of necessity.

The Russians at that time were very disorganized, because in December 1991, they had dissolved the Soviet Union. In Moscow, they kept telling us, “Don’t worry, this is only because of our organizational problems.” And by mid-January they resumed supplies.

But this was really a sign for us of what could happen in the future. At the time that Russians had decided about a certain new strategy for central European countries—which were going out of the Soviet sphere of influence—they decided on this plan to “replace tanks with pipelines.”

So we started to look for other solutions for diversification of the supplies.

F&D: After a few false starts and changes in government, in 2016 you started talks on the construction of the Baltic Pipe. How important is that for Poland’s energy security, and for Europe’s?

NAIMSKI: The Baltic Pipe will have 10 billion cubic meters of  capacity per year. This is about half of  Polish demand and will replace 100 percent of Russian deliveries.  Together with an already operational LNG [liquefied natural gas] terminal and recently commissioned interconnectors with Lithuania and Slovakia, Poland will be free of Russia’s hostile gas maneuvers. This is especially important today, when Europe has to confront Russia’s weaponizing of hydrocarbon deliveries.

Need for a new pipeline from north to south:

F&D: Most existing gas pipelines run east to west. You have talked often about the need for north-south pipelines. What is the rationale?

NAIMSKI: This is important because, if we want to really diversify our sources and means of transportation for central Europe, we have to construct transmission lines completely differently from what was executed by Russian—or Russia-dependent—institutions, governments, or economies. 

This is why we are commissioning a pipeline interconnected between Poland and Slovakia. And the Slovaks, they have already interconnected with Hungary, and they have plans to finally complete a link with the Romanian system. And actually, this idea of linking Świnoujście [on Poland’s Baltic Coast] with Krk Island [on the coast of Croatia] was the basis for these north-south gas transmission strategies. The Baltic Pipe is part of this new possibility. 

Most countries need to think seriously about energy requirements and dependence.


One Response to “Poland’s decision to pursue energy independence from Russia”

  1. Poland’s determination to pursue vitality independence from Russia – 52weekshares Says:

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