Gas supplies have been cut in over a dozen Polish municipalities after the government put a Russian-owned supplier on the country’s sanctions list. The decision came on the same day as Russia halted gas supplies to Poland via the Yamal pipeline, though the two developments are not directly related.
On Tuesday, Poland sanctioned 50 Russian and Belarusian entities and individuals in an attempt to curb the outflow of billions of zloty from Poland to Russia. The sanctions added to measures already imposed by the EU in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The list included Novatek Green Energy, which has offices in eight Polish municipalities and sells liquefied petroleum gas (LNG). The company is a subsidiary of a group controlled by OAO Novatek, the second-largest natural gas producer in Russia.
❗️Kilka gmin bez dostaw gazu. Tak jest między innymi w gminie Mościsko w Wielkopolsce, bo firma Novatek Green Energy Sp. z o.o. jest wpisana na tzw. polską listę sankcyjną. To spółka zależna w grupie kapitałowej Novatek, kontrolowanej przez rosyjski koncern OAO Novatek.
— Radio ZET NEWS (@RadioZET_NEWS) April 28, 2022
Two municipalities in Wielkopolska province have declared problems with gas supplies from Novatek, provincial governor Michał Zieliński said on Wednesday evening, reported the Polish Press Agency (PAP).
Several municipalities in Pomerania province, including the coastal town of Łeba, as well as Mrozy and Cegłów, have also reported on their websites about gas supply outages.
On Thursday morning, deputy interior minister Paweł Szefernaker announced that action is being taken to restore gas supplies to municipalities that have seen supplies cut.
“We have undertaken actions that aim at the quickest possible supply of gas to places where it was missing due to the fact that one of the companies supplying it was put on the sanction list,” Szefernaker told broadcaster TVN24. “This concerns over a dozen municipalities in Poland.”
Wiceminister @szefernaker w @tvn24rozmowa: Podjęliśmy działania, które mają na celu jak najszybsze doprowadzenie gazu tam, gdzie go zabrakło w związku z tym, że jedna z firm go dostarczających została wpisana na listę sankcyjną. Dotyczy to kilkunastu gmin w Polsce.
— MSWiA 🇵🇱 (@MSWiA_GOV_PL) April 28, 2022
The cuts to gas supplies in municipalities came on the same day as Russian gas stopped flowing through the Yamal pipeline after Warsaw refused to comply with Moscow’s demands to pay in rubles.
Deputy foreign minister Piotr Wawrzyk said on Thursday morning that Poland is entitled to liquidated damages in face of Russia’s breach of contract that stipulated an agreed method of payment.
“Gazprom will have to pay us compensation because it acted in an obviously unlawful way. This is the opinion of specialists from different countries,” Wawrzyk told Polskie Radio.
As Gazprom confirmed that it was cutting off supplies, climate minister Anna Moskwa and minister for state assets Jacek Sasin both assured that Poland’s gas storage facilities are three-quarters full and that the country has a number of other sources of gas.
Lithuania’s energy minister announced on Wednesday that gas could flow to Poland from their country if necessary. Similar assurances came last week from Romania, where the president said that Bucharest is ready to support other EU countries in ending their dependence on Russian gas.
The Polish government pledged last month to end all imports of oil, gas and coal from Russia by the end of this year. It admits that its embargo on coal may violate EU rules, but said that it “cannot wait any longer” for Brussels to act.
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, however, the port in Gdańsk seaport has been among those to have received the most Russian fossil fuels, according to a new study by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) think tank.
Od początku inwazji na Ukrainę, Rosja wyeksportowała paliwa kopalne o wartości 63 mld euro. Wśród portów, który przyjęły najwięcej rosyjskich surowców jest Gdańsk – wynika z nowej analizy think tanku.https://t.co/lXuTp1Sjs2 pic.twitter.com/SlxUiUm7Fi
— 300Gospodarka (@300gospodarka) April 28, 2022
Main image credit: Novatek (press materials)
Alicja Ptak is senior editor at Notes from Poland and a multimedia journalist. She previously worked for Reuters.