Poland is willing, by 2021, to double the capacity of its gas storages. This infrastructure significantly improves the energy security of Poland, and, on the other hand, it may have a chance of becoming a key element of gas-hub, should the next governments of Poland be interested in creating and expanding such facility within the Polish territory.
Expansion of the Polish natural gas storage facilities
According to the information published on 15th January this year by the Ministry of Economy in the “List of strategic energy infrastructure projects, within the infrastructure and environment 2014 – 2020 programme” document, in the nearest future, storing natural gas resources within the Polish territory would be more beneficial.
According to that document, the gas storages’ capacities will be increased. The one in Wierzchowice will, by 2020, be 800 million m3 larger, the Mogilno storage capacity will expand by 230 million m3, Strachocin and Kosakowo storages will gain 840 million and 125 million m3. Besides that, facility located in the Lubień Salt Mine will be handed off for use (160 million m3). In total, the infrastructure described above will be capable of storing 2.15 billion cubic meters of gas.
At the moment, Polish natural gas storage facilities offer ca. 2.7 billion cubic meters of capacity. In 2021, this value is going to increase, up to ca. 4,8 billion m3. This is quite decent quantity, considering the fact that back in 2012 Poland needed 15.8 billion m3 of gas. Poland obtained, through national mining, ca. 4.4 billion m3 of gas throughout that year. Import structure was as follows: 9 billion m3 of gas were imported from the East, and 1.7 billion m3 of gas were imported from Germany. And finally, 555.7 m3 of gas were imported from the Czech Republic.
Vistula Gas Hub
Thanks to the Yamal Pipeline, along with the Poland-Lithuania pipeline and the North-South gas corridor which are both being under construction, with the latter one connecting the Świnoujście gas terminal with the gas terminal located on Croatian Krk island, and thanks to the planned inter-connector with Ukraine, Poland, due to its strategic location, has a chance of becoming the regional gas hub. However, this will not be possible, without aware shaping of the gas-policy by the government.
I deeply hope that expansion of the gas storage facilities is one of the elements of the government’s policy, and that resources collected by these facilities will come both from the Polish, as well as from the imported resources. I am writing about that for a particular reason, as back in November last year, Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainianm President made an offer for Poland and the remaining Visegrad States. The Ukrainian president would like all of these countries to integrate their local markets with the gas storage facilities located in Ukraine (and such idea, by the way, is being promoted in our country by some of the business circles involved in the energy-related issues). Meanwhile, it shall be strongly emphasized that storing the Polish natural gas resources in the Ukrainian storages would be, geopolitically, quite risky. Ukrainian territory is currently a war theatre, and result of this war is still uncertain. The critical infrastructure is often targeted by the terrorists, and, if that is not enough, extremely high degree of bribing and corruption is yet another dimension of potential danger. Besides that, placing the Polish blue fuel resources in Ukraine, would mean that Warsaw resigns from its intention of creating a regional gas hub.