10 September 2010

Świnoujście Under Fire

Germany is demanding that the European Union conduct an environmental assessment of a project to build a liquified natural gas terminal in the Baltic port of Swinoujscie. Germany has reportedly sent Poland a formal protest, saying that the project could violate the Espoo convention on environmental protection. Earlier Poland failed to use the same convention to block the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany along the bed of the Baltic Sea. At the end of August, Berlin voted against the European Union allocating 80 million euros to build the terminal, which is very close to the German border. According to Warsaw, the terminal in Swinoujscie will be built by 2014 at a cost of 800 million euros. The terminal will make it possible to satisfy 40 percent of Poland's needs for natural gas. The gas will be supplied by Qatar. However, Germany fears that the energy complex just three kilometers from its border will threaten the environment on the fragile Baltic coast. (Oil and Gas Eurasia, Sept. 10).


  1. Could this perhaps be German pay back for Polish opposition to the Nord Stream pipeline project and its impact on E.ON Ruhrgas and BASF/Wintershal?

  2. Interesting point. It is strange that suddenly, the Germans are cool on this. It's also odd that Merkel is now backtracking from decommissioning nuclear plants but arguing for the environment here.

    It could be some kind of "payback" on Nord Stream, but this is unlikely now that Nord Stream already going ahead as planned. It also sounds like the typical Polish perspective, which is that everything behind German and Russian actions has a sinister intention.

    The Germans are worried about the Baltic Sea environment, and the Baltic and Scandinavian countries voiced legitimate concerns about Nord Stream's environmental impact, despite the political tensions. LNG has very different environmental implications than an undersea pipeline.

    It could also be that the Germans are seeking a balance in supply... To much gas in the market would drop prices and disrupt the Germans' preferential relationship vis-a-vis Gazprom.