WARSAW: Washington’s energy secretary on Thursday hailed a 24-year deal to deliver US liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Poland as signal for Europe on ensuring energy security and easing dependence on Russian supplies.
The deal, the second multi-decade agreement with a US firm signed in two months, comes as Warsaw looks to diversify its gas supplies in an effort to wean itself off its heavy reliance on Russia amid tensions with Moscow.
“This is a signal across Europe that this is how your energy future can be developed, the security of the country, the diversity of supply — this is a great day for Europe,” US energy secretary Rick Perry said at a signing ceremony in Warsaw with Polish President Andrzej Duda.
Poland, which currently sources about two-thirds of its gas from Kremlin-backed Russian energy giant Gazprom, is also eyeing imports from Norway and Qatar.
State-run gas firm PGNiG said it had sealed a two-tranche 24-year deal for LNG deliveries from the Texas-based Cheniere Marketing International, amounting to a total of 40.95 billion cubic meters of natural gas after regasification. “This deal will provide Poland with energy security,” said Duda, adding that the agreement reflects “a real transatlantic partnership.”
The deal with the US firm is due to take effect in 2019, three years before Warsaw’s current contract with Gazprom for 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year is set to end.
PGNiG CEO Piotr Wozniak said the terms of the deal including “a competitive price, are fully satisfactory” although no value for the contract was provided, adding two further deals were planned.
“We want to build a full supply portfolio,” he said.
PGNiG struck a similar 20-year deal in October with the US-based Venture Global LNG for delivery of up to two million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year.
Poland in October filed a complaint with the EU’s top court against a controversial deal by the European Commission to settle an anti-trust case against Gazprom.
This allowed Gazprom to avoid billions in fines after eight eastern EU members including Poland claimed the Russian giant had abused its dominant position as a gas provider in their region.
The settlement with the EU came after Gazprom agreed to benchmark prices in eastern Europe against prices in the rest of Europe, and to drop clauses restricting the re-export of gas by clients.
Perry and Poland’s energy minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski signed a declaration of cooperation on energy security later on Thursday.
The US official also attended cyber security exercises near Warsaw where US experts trained Poles on how to prevent attacks by hackers on power grids.
Fin. Minister briefs PM about talks with IMF
ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar, who is accompanying the Prime Minister Imran Khan during his official visit to Malaysia, on Tuesday briefed the prime minister about the visit, meetings, and progress till now with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation in Pakistan.
The finance minister informed the prime minister that efforts were being made to settle bilateral affairs with the IMF in such a way which would have positive results on the economy and which could not put a burden on the people, a press release issued by the PM Media wing here said.
He said that progress on meetings held so far with the Fund was encouraging, however, the final decision regarding the bailout package would be made keeping in view people’s interests and vision of the government.
Asad Umar told the prime minister that the IMF programme had no immediate pressure on Pakistan’s economy, adding that understanding Pakistan’s priorities by the IMF delegation was an encouraging step.
Dams: CJP pinning hopes on Overseas Pakistanis
ISLAMABAD: CJP on Tuesday said that Overseas Pakistanis should play a role in the construction of dams in Pakistan.
Expatriates should come forward for resolution of problems of Pakistan besides provision of funds for construction of water reservoirs, he stated while talking to a private news channel.
Construction of dams was imperative for addressing future demands of water in the country, he said. CJP Saqib Nisar said that Mohmand Dam could have been started earlier than the other dams.
Commenting on the justice system, he said that we have a single system in Pakistan for the dispensation of justice.
“While dealing with the cases, we don’t have two systems of justice here, ” he added. He said that Overseas Pakistanis had great attachment and love for their country.
Pinning the hopes of Pakistanis living abroad, he said that they could play a vital role in steering the country out of the present challenges. We are fully capable to resolve the national issues, he stated.
To another question, he said, “We don’t have a selected system of justice in Pakistan.” Giving a message to the people, he said that everyone should have love and respect for Pakistan.
1m Pakistanis benefitted from US grants: CG
PESHAWAR: More than one million Pakistanis in remote and underserved areas have already benefitted from over 200 US government grants designed to improve the economic and social conditions in those communities.
Representatives from Pakistani organizations working in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province gathered in Peshawar to hear about new funding opportunities through a video message by the US Consul General in Peshawar Jonathan Shrier.
In the video message, US Consul General in Peshawar Jonathan Shrier said “This program helps the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa address local problems by implementing community-based solutions that will have both immediate and long-lasting impact. ”These grants were given through the Ambassador’s Fund Grant Program, a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) initiative.
The Ambassador’s Fund focuses on high-impact, quickly-implemented community programs. The grants specifically seek to promote culture & arts, improve disaster preparedness, develop small-scale energy solutions, encourage social entrepreneurship, and empower vulnerable populations.
Private sector organizations, non-governmental organizations, and non-government academic research and training institutions – including those led by women are encouraged to apply, he added.