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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Poland Maneuvers for Better Gazprom Deal

WARSAW, Poland -- Poland cut its medium- and long-term natural gas demand forecasts Monday ahead of talks with Gazprom, which Warsaw hopes will pave the way for a compromise over Russian gas deliveries.

Deputy Economics Minister Marek Kossowski said the revised forecasts saw Poland's demand for natural gas at 13.7 billion to 16.2 billion cubic meters in 2005 against a previous 15.7 to 17.9 bcm.

The revision by Poland's new leftist government comes as it is seeking to renegotiate terms of its 1996 long-term gas supply contract with Russia, aiming for a possible deal by the time of a mid-month visit by President Vladimir Putin.

Under the deal, Poland will start receiving 12.5 bcm of gas a year after 2010 on a take-or-pay basis, which forces the offtaker to buy contracted gas even if it cannot consume it.

"The new demand forecasts takes into account lower economic growth forecasts, and they will be the basis for talks with any future suppliers, including Gazprom," Kossowski said.

"During this week's visit in Moscow we will talk about future gas volumes, but also the timing of the deliveries and Russia's investments in Polish-based pipelines," he added.

Kossowski said that according to numbers prepared by the National Energy Agency and state-owned gas monopoly PGNiG, Poland's demand would stand at 14.9 to 19.8 bcm in 2010, rather than the 18.4 to 22 bcm forecast by the previous government.

Last year Poland also signed a long-term deal with Norway, which if approved by the Polish and Norwegian gas companies could bring to Poland 74 bcm of Nordic gas between 2008 and 2024, additionally boosting future import volumes.

Kossowski and PGNiG officials are due to hold talks on the 1996 deal with Gazprom in Moscow on Wednesday and Thursday. Poland and Russia hope for a compromise before Putin's Jan. 16-17 visit.

In addition to making future gas deliveries more flexible and possibly allowing Poland to export surplus Russian deliveries, Warsaw also wants Gazprom to define its plans concerning transit routes across Poland.

Together with PGNiG, Gazprom operates the first stretch of the Yamal-Europe transit gas pipeline pumping Russian gas across Poland to Germany.