WARSAW, June 17 (Reuters) – Poland has sped up work on a terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) as it aims for a 2015 start date for receiving shipments from suppliers such as Qatar, the head of terminal operator Polskie LNG said on Monday.
“Work is speeding up,” Rafal Wardzinski said in an interview. “If this continues, and nothing unexpected happens and if winter is mild, we should meet this deadline.”
Work on facilities for the Euro 2012 soccer tournament stretched Polish builders and raised doubts about the terminal meeting its deadline.
One company in the consortium selected to build the terminal with Italy’s Saipem and Techint, Poland’s PBG , was forced to seek bankruptcy protection.
“We owe a lot to the foreign contractors,” Wardzinski said. “Had it not been for the Italian companies in the consortium, work on the terminal could have been halted due to the troubles of Polish companies.”
Plans call for the 2.1 billion zloty ($662 million) terminal being built in the Baltic Sea port of Swinoujscie to be finished in the second half of 2014 with deliveries beginning in 2015.
Under a “take or pay contract” Poland’s state-controlled gas monopoly PGNiG will have to begin paying supplier Qatar for LNG whether the terminal is ready or not.
The facility, which will be able to handle 5 billion cubic metres of gas annually, is expected to help ease EU member Poland’s reliance on gas imports from Russia’s Gazprom .
Polskie LNG, a unit of state-owned gas grid operator Gaz-System, also plans to expand the terminal.
Wardzinski said this would allow it to introduce new services, such as ship bunkering, and will include building a third LNG container at a cost of about 1 billion zlotys.
“We want to take the decision at the end of this year, or the beginning of 2014 at the latest,” he said. “The third container could be build by the end of this decade.”
($1 = 3.1707 Polish zlotys) (Editing by Michael Kahn and Jason Neely)
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