WARSAW: Poland, which is seeking energy independence from Russia, has signed a spot deal to receive liquefied natural gas from the United States, an industry official said.
"It's the first shipment of US gas to Poland," Maciej Wozniak, vice-president of the PGNiG Polish state gas monopoly, told reporters, calling it "a historical moment".
Texas firm Cheniere Energy will deliver the first supplies in June to a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Swinoujscie on the Baltic coast, which Poland launched last year.
Poland wants to use the terminal not only to shake off the grip of Russia's energy giant Gazprom, but also to propel itself into the position of a major player in the region's gas market.
The EU member currently relies on Russia for about 40 percent of its gas, with a third coming from domestic sources and 20 percent from central Asia.
The Swinoujscie terminal has an initial annual capacity of five billion cubic metres of natural gas, but this could soon grow to 7.5 billion cubic metres -- or a whopping fifty percent of Poland's current gas consumption.
The facility cost 720 million euros ($785 million) and to date had received supplies from Qatar and Norway.