Poland backs Washington in US-German dispute over Nord Stream 2

Poland will support Washington in the US-German dispute over Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said on Monday.

“In this US-Germany dispute we are on the US side, as its arguments are more convincing and besides, we have raised them before,” said Mr Czaputowicz during a news conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas.

Berlin has given political support to the building of a new, USD 11 billion pipeline to bring Russian gas across the Baltic Sea called Nord Stream 2, bypassing traditional routes through Ukraine, despite qualms raised among other EU states.

The US is pressing Berlin to halt the pipeline that will carry gas from Russia under the Baltic Sea, arguing that it will increase Germany’s dependence on Russia for energy.

Mr Czaputowicz also said Nord Stream 2 “will put Ukraine in a very difficult situation”, adding that Poland shares the opinion of the US that the project will provide funds for Russia to modernize its army.

“I know about these objections but the German government does not share them,” said Mr Maas.

Ukraine fears the pipeline will allow Russia to cut it off from the gas transit business, while Germany’s eastern neighbors worry about Russian encroachment.

The foreign ministers spoke in Harmęże, southern Poland, near the Auschwitz Nazi-German death camp, which Maas visited earlier on Monday.

Poland and Russian gas

Poland buys most of the gas it consumes from Russia but has taken steps to reduce that reliance.

To diversify supply sources, Poland opened its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the Baltic Sea, which it plans to expand in the near future, and PGNiG, a Polish state-controlled oil and gas company, has signed an agreement with US gas companies.

Warsaw also aims to connect Poland to Norwegian gas deposits via Denmark by October 2022, in a project known as the Baltic Pipe. Poland wants the pipeline to be completed in before a long-term deal between PGNiG and Russia’s Gazprom expires.

The Baltic Pipe will cross the existing Nord Stream pipe, which brings gas to Germany from Russia, and possibly its planned second line, Nord Stream 2.