March 12, 2020 / 12:51 PM / 22 days ago

Polish gas firm PGNiG sees tough 2020 as virus disrupts prices

* Locked into gas contracts with Russia and Qatar

* 2019 net profit fell

WARSAW, March 12 (Reuters) - Poland’s state-run gas company PGNiG expects 2020 to be very difficult because of the coronavirus-driven fall in oil and gas prices and long-term supply deals agreed when markets were stronger, its chief executive said on Thursday.

Poland imports most of the gas it uses from Russia’s Gazprom under a long-term deal that expires in 2022. PGNiG has taken steps to reduce that reliance and agreed on supplies from the United States and Qatar.

“Last year was difficult for us. 2020 will be very difficult due to what is going on the international markets. Due to the coronavirus, oil and gas prices have fallen significantly,” Poland’s state-run news agency PAP quoted PGNiG Chief Executive Jerzy Kwiecinski as saying.

“On top of that we are tied into long-term agreements on gas supplies, which are unfavourable for us,” he said, adding most of the deals were with Russia, but some contracts with Qatar were also disadvantageous to the company.

PGNiG’s net profit in 2019 fell to 1.37 billion zlotys ($353.37 million)from 3.21 billion in 2018. ($1 = 3.8770 zlotys) (Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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