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Poland’s PGNiG steps up legal battle against Gazprom

Feb 2 Poland’s largest gas distributor PGNiG has filed a claim against Russia’s Gazprom as part of an arbitration process in which PGNiG is seeking a cut in the price of gas from its main supplier.

Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo (PGNiG) did not give any details of its claim filed with Swedish arbitrators on Monday, but said the process did not exclude talks that could allow both sides to strike a deal.

PGNiG, Gazprom and Poland’s energy ministry declined to comment on Tuesday.

Gazprom’s prices for Poland, which uses around 16 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas annually, have been among the highest in Europe and PGNiG has said it expected a discount.

Gazprom and PGNiG have a contract which runs until 2022 under which the Russian firm supplies Poland with up to 10.2 bcm of natural gas per year. The contract allows for negotiation windows when the price can be reviewed.

Poland is trying to reduce its reliance on imported energy from Russia, but still more than a half of the gas it consumes is imported from its former imperial master. The dependency is even bigger in terms of oil.

“Most probably PGNiG wants Gazprom to change the price-setting formula in order to cut the price. There are political expectations that prices will be cut, no matter how realistic it is,” a gas sector expert said.

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