Poland's PGNiG to boost gas storage by 25% in energy security push

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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 30 (Reuters) - Poland's PGNiG (PGN.WA) plans to expand its gas storage capacity by 25% to 4 billion cubic metres, it said on Thursday, as the largest country in the European Union's eastern wing looks to bolster its energy security.

The country's existing gas storage facilities are 97% full, but current storage capacity of 3.2 billion cubic metres (bcm) is relatively small compared to annual consumption of about 20 bcm.

With winter consumption amounting at times to some 2 bcm of gas per month, Warsaw now plans to expand its gas reservoir in Wierzchowice, western Poland

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"The expansion of the gas storage facility in Wierzchowice will significantly enhance Poland's energy security," PGNiG chief executive Iwona Waksmundzka-Olejniczak said in a statement.

"This will make us more resilient to crises like the one we are currently dealing with in Europe."

Poland and Bulgaria were the first European countries to be cut off from Russian gas in April.

Warsaw had been taking steps to diversify supplies before tensions over the war in Ukraine upended European energy markets.

Despite curtailed supplies of Russian gas to Europe, Poland's gas market balance is supported by a liquefied natural gas terminal running at full capacity and lower summer demand amid high prices.

Poland does not plan to initiate a 12-step emergency procedure to safeguard energy supply that would lead 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. read more

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Reporting by Gdansk Newsroom, Alan Charlish, Marek Strzelecki; Editing by Jan Harvey

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