Poland's Minister of Foreign Affairs Radoslaw Sikorski (C-L) talks with Democratic Senator from Maryland Barbara Mikulski (C-R). Photo: EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo
Poland is currently close to completing an LNG import terminal in Swinoujscie, on the Baltic coast, as part of its ongoing bid to diversify its energy range.
Following a meeting with US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Sikorski told journalists that the imports “will allow for our LNG terminal - the construction of which will be completed next year - to be able to buy gas at more competitive prices."
Poland has already launched a programme to exploit its own shale gas potential though deposits are much less than originally thought and American and Canadian firms pulled out of exploration for the gas last month, with critics complaining of uncertainty over tax and planning law was detering further companies coming forward to exploit the new energy source.
Sikorski said that the legal and exploration process before fracking the gas from rock in Poland can begin "will certainly last a number of years," however and alternatives needed to be found.
Sikorski noted that the US's own experience of exploiting and regulating shale gas had taken some twenty years, whereas in Poland, only two years have been devoted to the project.
The widespread exploitation of shale gas in America has made gas an important energy source in the US over the last two years, with considerably lower prices than had been the norm in previous years.
Bid to break down trade barriers with EU
At present the US has signed free trade agreements with 18 countries, allowing for unhampered imports of LNG.
No EU country has signed the necessary free trade agreement however with the US that would facilitate imports of LNG, and Poland is hoping that an overarching US-EU trading agreement will be set in motion.
“This would simplify the licensing process,” Sikorski affirmed.
Sikorski is the Polish government is keen to get the process under way as quickly as possible, noting that realistically, imports could be three years away.
While in Washington, Sikorski also talked with US Secretary of State John Kerry, discussing matters including next year's projected end of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, which Poland is part of, the civil war in Syria, and Poland’s impact on EU integration.
He also visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and met with US senators and Polish-born Professor Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor from 1977-1981. (nh/pg)