PGNiG Board Dismisses CEO After Gazprom Gas Pipeline Row

Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA, Poland’s biggest gas distributor, dismissed Chief Executive Officer Grazyna Piotrowska-Oliwa following a row over OAO Gazprom’s pipeline expansion plans.

The supervisory board of the state-controlled company, known as PGNiG, also fired Deputy CEO Radoslaw Dudzinski in charge of sales at today’s meeting, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said at a news conference. Earlier this month Tusk dismissed Treasury Minister Mikolaj Budzanowski for failing to inform him about a deal that a company in which PGNiG holds a stake signed with the Russian natural gas exporter.

“The supervisory board has started a contest to pick new management,” Tusk said.

Gazprom and Poland’s Europol Gaz SA on April 4 signed a memorandum to study a proposed 15 billion cubic-meter pipeline called Yamal-Europe 2 from Russia via Poland to Slovakia, bypassing Ukraine. Tusk and Budzanowski weren’t aware of the deal, even though the plan was known to PGNiG, the prime minister said April 19.

Poland wants to cut dependence on gas imports from Russia via more links with other European Union members, liquefied natural gas imports and domestic output. The government won’t participate in any plan that would to isolate Ukraine by building an alternative pipeline that bypasses Poland’s eastern neighbor, Tusk said on April 5.

PGNiG shares dropped 1.7 percent to 5.31 zloty at 4:05 p.m. in Warsaw, falling for a second day and valuing the Warsaw-based company at 31.4 billion zloty ($9.9 billion).

Piotrowska-Oliwa, appointed as PGNiG’s CEO in March 2012, had planned to increase the company’s gas output by 41 percent by 2015 and raise spending on shale gas exploration in Poland.

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