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PGNiG’s Persian plan

Poland’s gas monopoly, the Polish Oil and Gas Company (PGNiG), has inked a preliminary deal with an Iranian state-owned oil company to cooperate on managing gas reserves, the company announced last week.

„In Tehran, PGNiG signed a letter of intent with Iranian Offshore Oil Company in the area of cooperation related to managing already-discovered gas and condensate reserves,” PGNiG said in a statement. Poland relies on Russia for some 48% of its gas imports, and has made diversifying its energy supply a priority. In recent months PGNiG has also signed agreements to allow it to import gas from countries, such as Libya and Denmark.

Nearly a fifth of the world’s gas lies under Iranian soil, and Iran wants to export more of it by cooling it down and selling it in liquid form. However, years of under-investment have left Iran’s reserves - the largest in the world - mostly untapped. Currently, Iran does not produce any liquefied natural gas (LNG), but plans to supply several large international energy companies if liquefying facilities are built. Those companies include Austria’s OMV, Petrochina, E.ON Ruhrgas and Gaz de France.

PGNiG spokeswoman Joanna Zakrzewska said cooperation with the Iranian company could lead to LNG supply contracts, which are indispensable if the Polish company is to go ahead with construction of its planned LNG terminal on the Baltic coast. In January, PGNiG chose Canadian firm SNC Lavalin Services to construct the terminal. The port will be able to host the largest LNG tankers, at 300 meters in length with a 13.5-meter draft, and which carry 200,000 cubic meters of gas. The first gas deliveries to the terminal are expected to be received at the beginning of 2011. (Warsaw Business Journal)