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Oil report

Poland hopes for gas deal with Russia in Oct-Nov

WARSAW, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Poland hopes to strike a gas supply deal with Russia in October or November for 2010 and beyond, Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s energy security aide said on Wednesday.

Maciej Wozniak said the sides will need some three weeks to get all the required approvals once an agreement was reached.

“I think they (the talks) could take place in October and that we will manage to end them successfully,” Wozniak told TVN CNBC news channel. “Should we reach a compromise it (the deal) could be possible in October or November.”

Warsaw had originally wanted to strike a deal by the end of July and to officially sign it during Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s visit to Poland on September 1, but the sides could not agree on all the issues.

The disagreement focused on the functioning of Europolgaz, a joint venture between PGNiG PGNI.WA and Gazprom GAZP.MM that manages the Yamal pipeline in Poland.

Wozniak said on Wednesday Poland would be willing to agree to a change in Europolgaz’s shareholder structure -- the exit of minority shareholder Gas-Trading, which holds a 4 percent stake, with Gazprom and PGNiG controlling half of the company each.

However, the change in the shareholders’ structure could not result in the weakening of PGNiG’s position in the joint-venture, Wozniak added.

Poland, which imports about two-thirds of the gas it uses from Russia, faces an annual shortfall of some 2.5 billion metres from 2010, with Russia the only supplier capable of filling the gap.

Poland receives gas from Russia via the Yamal pipeline, which is capable of carrying about 30 billion cubic metres of gas annually to Europe. But the government wants to diversify supplies by building a liquefied natural gas terminal for imports from tankers. (Reporting by Patryk Wasilewski)

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