Poland Puts Wozniak in Charge of PGNiG to Cut Reliance on Russia

  • Supervisory board names Wozniak acting CEO until March 11
  • Board dismisses two deputy chief executives of gas company

The supervisory board of PGNiG SA on Friday placed a proponent of cutting dependence on Russian gas at the helm of one of Poland’s largest energy companies.

Piotr Wozniak, who was the company’s deputy chief executive from 2000 to 2002 and served as economy minister 10 years ago, was named the acting chief executive officer of the utility that now imports about 60 percent of Poland’s gas from Russian OAO Gazprom. In 2001, Wozniak negotiated a long-term contract for gas deliveries with Norway’s Statoil ASA, but the deal was scrapped by the next government.

While pipeline connections with Germany and the Czech Republic, combined with a liquefied natural gas terminal on the Baltic, will give Poland an option to do without any Russian gas as of next year, the government is seeking another potential source to boost the country’s energy security. A link with Norway would also give Poland an advantage in talks with Russia if the two nations negotiate a new contract when the current deal expires in 2022.

“We can’t be kept at the risk of a sudden supply disruption and the best way to change it is via a permanent pipeline connection with the North Sea and the LNG terminal,” Wozniak said in an interview last month.

The supervisory board named Wozniak acting CEO until March 11, replacing Mariusz Zawisza, it said in a statement. The board also dismissed deputy chief executives Zbigniew Skrzypkiewicz and Jaroslaw Bauc.

Poland is also receiving its first cargo with Qatari LNG on Friday as the tanker Al Nuaman is arriving at the Baltic Sea port of Swinoujscie.

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