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Reducing dependence on Russia, Poland considers purchase of Israeli gas – Israel News



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An AERIAL VIEW shows a foundation platform of the Leviathan natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea

An AERIAL VIEW shows a foundation platform of the Leviathan natural gas field on the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Haifa.
(Photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM / POOL VIA REUTERS)

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Polish state power company PGNiG is considering the purchase of Israeli natural gas as it seeks to reduce its reliance on the main Russian supplier, Gazprom.

"We want to be the company at the crossroads of the north-south and east-west … we need something to the south," PGNiG chief executive Piotr Wozniak told Reuters last week.

"So we're looking at all these places in southern Poland very carefully … So, yes, we're interested in Israel," said Wozniak.

PGNiG currently supplies more than half of the natural gas it resells from the Moscow-based Gazprom energy giant majority-owned by the Russian government in a 22-year take or pay agreement maturing in 2022.

Polish authorities have stated that they will not extend the agreement, with PGNiG accusing Gazprom of abusing its dominant position in the Central European and Baltic markets.

Prior to the conclusion of the agreement with Gazprom, PGNiG sought to diversify its gas purchases by increasing imports of liquefied natural gas from Qatar, Norway and the United States. PGNiG is also preparing to supply the Polish market with gas produced on the Norwegian continental shelf by interconnecting the Baltic pipe through the North Sea, Denmark and the Baltic Sea by the end of 2022.

"Our operations are still exposed to the risk of unexpected supply disruption in the East, as we have experienced on several occasions," said Maciej Woźniak, PGNiG Vice President of Trade Affairs, earlier this year.

"Therefore, our current priority is to build an alternative and long-term portfolio of safe inputs from 2023 on the basis of market principles and prices."

Until major discoveries of natural gas have been made along the Israeli coast in recent years, few have realized that Israel, historically poor in natural resources, was a significant source of energy.

This perception began to change with the discovery of the Noa gas field on the shores of Ashkelon in 1999.

The discovery of major natural gas fields in Israel since 2009, including Tamar and Leviathan, has transformed the Jewish state of an energy dependent country into an energy supplier both internally and overseas.

Israel plans to provide former Jordanian and Egyptian opponents natural gas valued at $ 26 billion and plans to build 2,000 kilometers. pipeline to supply gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe.

In January, seven countries hoping to benefit from the region's newly discovered resources, including Israel, established the Cairo-based Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum.

Several major energy companies, including US oil and gas giant ExxonMobil, are considering a new round of offshore exploration rights, the second such auction in Israel, with proposals to be submitted by June 17.

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