WARSAW, Poland – Poland and Ukraine said Tuesday they are working toward developing a regional gas hub that would end Central and Eastern Europe's dependence on Russian supplies and keep prices in line with European standards.
The region still relies to some extent on Russian natural gas and has been exposed to political pressure from Moscow, which has at times in the past limited supply volumes or hiked gas prices. Governments in the region have been reducing their imports of gas from Russia and seeking other sources. They have also been trying to become more energy-efficient, a task Ukraine still needs to fully undertake.
Poland is increasingly importing gas from other regions. Its new liquefied natural gas port has received deliveries by sea from Qatar and is expecting a delivery from the United States this week. Poland is also proceeding with a project to bring in North Sea gas.
Poland is sending some resources on to Ukraine, after the country cut imports from Russia in 2015. In response, Russia has threatened to end its gas transit through Ukraine, which would mean a significant loss of income for Kiev.
Government officials participating in a Poland-Ukraine Gas Conference on Tuesday said the planned hub should be in place by 2022 on the Polish-Ukrainian border.
"We now have enough infrastructure to move onwards with the hub," said Sergei Makogon, deputy head of Ukraine's oil and gas company, Ukrtransgaz.
A nation of 38 million, Poland uses 15.3 billion cubic meters of gas a year, of which 11.1 billion cubic meters are imported. Ukraine, with almost 43 million residents, uses 33.2 cubic meters of gas, with 11.1 billion cubic meters imported from its western partners.