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Polish gas group PGNiG sacks CEO over Gazprom pipeline deal

30 April 2013

Polish gas monopoly PGNiG fired its chief executive Grazyna Piotrowska-Oliwa on April 29 because she failed to stop a joint venture pipeline project with Russia's Gazprom that would sideline Ukraine. The board also dismissed her deputy, Radoslaw Dudzinski.

PGNiG former chief executive Grazyna Piotrowska-Oliwa
PGNiG former chief executive Grazyna Piotrowska-Oliwa

Prime Minister Donald Tusk had already fired Treasury Minister Mikolaj Budzanowski less than two weeks ago after learning that Gazprom and Poland’s Europol Gaz signed a memorandum on April 4 to explore the construction of the 15 billion cubic metre Yamal-Europe 2 pipeline, a project which would extend the pipeline through Belarus and Poland to Germany.

Russia supplies 90% of Poland's oil imports and more than 50% of its gas. Poland is trying to become more energy independent from Russia, but is also trying to keep good relations with its other strategic neighbour, Ukraine.

According to the Prime Minister's office, the Polish-Russian joint venture could be perceived as a snub to Ukraine at a time when Poland is keen to remain neutral in the two countries' gas dispute. 

Ukraine claims it has been overcharged for gas from the Russian company, 
while Russia is claiming $7bn from Ukraine in outstanding payments. Gazprom cut gas deliveries to Ukraine and other Central European countries in 2006 and 2009.

In the latest escalation of the dispute, Gazprom warned European companies on April 24 not to make illicit resales of Russian gas to Ukraine.

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