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Warsaw gets serious about eliminating Russian energy imports

| 2022-03-31 2 min read

Warsaw gets serious about eliminating Russian energy imports

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Poland adopted draft legislation on Wednesday to prohibit coal imports from Russia. In its efforts to move away from all Russian energy sources, Warsaw says coal will be cut off within two months, while oil imports should cease by the end of 2022, according to Notes From Poland.

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki unveiled the plan, but admitted it might not align with EU trade regulations, which must be agreed by the entire bloc.

He said the coal embargo would be in effect either next month or in “May at the latest”, and that the government would do everything it could to cut off supplies of Russian oil to Poland by the end of the year – he told Pap, a Polish Press Agency.

Due to Poland’s ability to accept LNG deliveries, and with a new pipeline delivering gas from Norway, Warsaw has been focusing on weaning itself from gas imports from Russia. Morawiecki made mention of this objective, with state energy company PGNiG having stated it would not renew a gas contract with Gazprom when a current contract runs out this year.

He had harsh words for other member states continuing to rely upon energy sources from Russia. “There can be no repeat of the stupidity, the bad, criminal policy, that created dependence on Russia and gave euros and dollars for Putin and Russia to build up their military arsenal and attack their neighbours,” he said.

Poland’s drastic plan comes in the wake of Germany and Austria having activated their early warning system for increased monitoring of gas supplies on Wednesday, in the midst of tension between Russia and the West over the war in Ukraine. The Local notes that Russia made a recent announcement that its gas customers would need to pay for deliveries with Russian rubles.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed that notion on Thursday when he signed a decree that as of Friday customers would need to pay for their Russian gas in rubles, via Russian bank accounts, Al Jazeera reported. In lieu of payment, Putin said “existing contracts will be stopped”.

The United States and European Union agreed a deal last week to provide the bloc with an additional 15 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas this year to reduce the proceeds received by the Kremlin from energy exports to Europe.

Poland’s PM recalled that Poland had called on the European Commission to “act decisively” against Russia’s energy interests when it first attacked Ukraine, but it had not. He said, “We are determined to show the commission what decisive, radical action is all about.”

According to the Forum Energii think-tank, 46% of Poland’s gas, 64% of its oil and 15% of its coal comes from Russia.

Source: Notes from Poland, The Local, Al Jazeera