Poland doesn't plan to start gas rationing after Germany triggers 'alarm stage'

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Warning signs are pictured in front of the gas compressor station, a part of Polish section of the Yamal pipeline that links Russia with western Europe which is owned by a joint venture of Gazprom and PGNiG but it is operated by Poland's state-owned gas transmission company Gaz-System, in Gabinek near Wloclawek, Poland May 23, 2022. The signs read: "Attention! Explosion risk. Zone 2" and "Natural gas. Keep fire away." REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

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WARSAW, June 24 (Reuters) - Poland doesn't plan to initiate its 12-step emergency procedure that leads to gas rationing, the climate ministry said on Friday, a day after Germany moved to the second, "alarm" stage of its own three-step emergency gas plan.

In response to falling Russian gas supplies, Germany triggered the second step of its emergency plan on Thursday. read more

It was the latest escalation in a standoff between Europe and Moscow since the Russian invasion of Ukraine that has exposed the bloc's dependence on Russian gas supplies and sparked a frantic search for alternative energy sources.

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Earlier on Friday, eastbound gas flows via the Yamal-Europe pipeline to Poland from Germany stopped, operator data showed.

The Yamal-Europe pipeline usually flows westward, but has been working mostly in reverse mode since December as Poland turned away from buying gas from Russia in favour of buying the fuel on the German market.

"We are not considering starting the procedure of gas rationing. The ministry has not been informed by the German side about restrictions to gas flows to Poland via the Mallnow connection point," the climate ministry said in response to Reuters questions.

By law the government can introduce restrictions for consumers if supply security is at risk. This would first involve the largest industrial users gradually curtailing their use to shield more vulnerable customers including hospitals, schools and households.

Poland's current gas balancing position is supported by a liquefied natural gas terminal running at full capacity and lower summer demand amid high prices. In addition, with its gas storage 97% full, the country can no longer pump more fuel in.

During the last gas day, Poland drew from storage 26 gigawatt-hours of gas, nearly twice the amount pumped into it, Gas Storage Poland data showed on Friday.

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Reporting by Marek Strzelecki; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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