Reuters: Polish gas monopoly PGNiG has not committed itself to a specific amount of investments in potential oil and gas projects in Iran, a company official told Reuters on Wednesday. WARSAW, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Polish gas monopoly PGNiG has not committed itself to a specific amount of investments in potential oil and gas projects in Iran, a company official told Reuters on Wednesday.
PGNiG’s strategy director denied an Iranian ISNA news agency report that a Polish company, most likely state-controlled PGNiG, had signed a deal with Iran to invest up to $1 billion in Iran’s oil and gas projects.
“We have not committed ourselves to any specific amount,” said Rafal Oleszkiewicz. “It’s an open issue. A very preliminary meeting took place, but the Iranians are very eager to cooperate.”
Earlier in February, PGNiG said it had signed a preliminary deal with state-owned Iranian Offshore Oil Company to cooperate on managing already-discovered gas reserves.
Poland, which depends on Russia for 48 percent of its gas and nearly 70 percent of its gas imports, has made diversifing supply a priority. The deal with Iran could pave the way for such a diversification.
Oleszkiewicz added a potential Iranian deal would give PGNiG the chance to take part in building facilities to liquefy Iranian gas which it then would buy.
Iran wants to export more gas by cooling it into liquid form, but decades of under-investment have left Iran’s reserves, the world’s second-biggest after Russia, largely untapped.
PGNiG is planning to build an LNG terminal on its Baltic coast which would enable it to import gas in this form.
Iran does not currently produce any liquefied natural gas (LNG), but plans to supply several companies — including Austria’s OMV, Petrochina, E.ON Ruhrgas and Gaz de France if facilities to liquify are built.
U.S. political pressure has delayed progress on Iran’s gas projects by European companies such as Total and Royal Dutch Shell, which could leave the field open to companies such as PGNiG.
PGNiG officials said they would have to tread carefully to not upset the United States, one of Poland’s chief allies.
The largest ex-communist NATO member is currently in talks with Washington to host 10 interceptor missiles on its soil as part of a U.S. missile shield from so-called “rogue” nations, such as North Korea and Iran. (Reporting by Marynia Kruk; editing by James Jukwey)