Janusz Kowalski for Niezalezna.pl: Backstage of the dispute with Gazprom and actions of managers during the PO

Deputy Minister of State Assets and former PGNiG Vice President Janusz Kowalski does not hide his satisfaction with the fact that the account of Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo received over USD 1.5 billion from Russian Gazprom. In an interview with Niezalezna.pl, Kowalski step by step explained how the dispute with the Russian giant was won. He also exposed the activities of managers during the PO-PSL, and also referred to the entry of the former Treasury Minister who trumpeted today … the success of the Civic Platform.

At the beginning of June, PGNiG and Gazprom concluded an annex to the Yamal contract, in which, inter alia, it was agreed that by July 1, 2020, the Russian company would pay back USD 1.5 billion. overpayments for gas supplied after November 1, 2014. The return ordered in March verdict arbitration in Stockholm.

Yesterday, the Interfax agency, citing information from Gazprom, wrote that the Russian company, in accordance with its commitments, transferred PGNiG the amount awarded in the arbitration. Gazprom also declared to Interfax that a refund does not mean that it gives up attempts to change its judgment as a result of the appeal procedure. Today the money has been credited to the PGNiG account.

Testament of President Kaczyński

– The issue of relations with the Kremlin and the issue of relations with Gazprom is an ideal measure through which we can see the differences between PO-PSL and PiS governments. Why? Because the governments of the United Right have actually implemented the will of President Lech Kaczyński, his basic response to Gazprom’s monopoly, and thus the construction of infrastructure that makes us independent of Russian gas

– deputy minister of state assets said in an interview with Niezalezna.pl.

What specific infrastructure is this?

– The first project is the gas port construction project initiated in 2006 by President of Poland Lech Kaczyński, which was completed in 2016 and was delayed by five years by the Civic Platform. The second project is the project of building a connection with Norway, initiated by the government of Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński, which was to be completed by 2012. After winning the election in 2007, it was one of the first decisions of Donald Tusk – to suspend this project. It was a very favorable decision for the Kremlin, which sadly resulted in the signing of a fatal annex to the Yamal contract by the PO in 2010, because if this Baltic Pipe gas pipeline and this connection with Norway were built, we would have a completely different negotiating situation

– Kowalski mentioned.

Deputy Minister Kowalski also drew attention to the previous authority’s approach regarding business and commercial relations between PGNiG and Gazprom.

In the case of PO and PSL governments, managers during those governments signed bad agreements with Gazprom, including this annex in 2010, under which PLN 1 billion was written off to Gazprom. This was the money that was due to Europol Gaz for gas transmission through Polish territory for 2006-2009

– he emphasized.

A hard court dispute

The former vice president of PGNiG and currently the deputy minister of state assets also emphasizes that the management board of PGNiG during the PiS government decided: “We do not talk to Gazprom! We do not negotiate at the green table, we are going to a hard litigation.” It brought the expected results.

After four years, this dispute was won by a team of young lawyers Dariusz Hryniów and Tobiasz Szychowski. In 2016, they created a completely new team of lawyers that won against Gazprom. On the other hand, the PO was negotiating, not preparing for a legal dispute before arbitration. She even signed such agreements with law firms that had a short duration, so they immediately assumed that there would be no support for external lawyers in a dispute over several years, because there would simply not be this dispute. The platform never went into a hard dispute with Gazprom, at the expense of Polish interests they negotiated with Gazprom

– noted the deputy minister.

However, not immediately – despite winning the dispute – managed to recover money from the Russian giant.

– In a situation where Gazprom did not comply with the ruling of the Arbitration Tribunal in Stockholm, I am not denying that my announcement was made on behalf of the Ministry of State Assets that we will be hard to enforce receivables, that we will seize Gazprom’s assets in Europe, as did the Ukrainians. But they enforced the money for two years, this came to us after a dozen or so weeks. Gazprom stepped back, they knew that there was no joke with the Polish government and as a result, today the PGNiG bank account has found its whole, and thus $ 1.5 billion. Such an approach, which is alien to Donald Tusk or Rafał Trzaskowski, is the best approach from the point of view of Poland’s interests

– Kowalski told us.

“We found empty drawers”

Meanwhile, former Treasury Minister Włodzimierz Karpiński announced today on Twitter that a transfer from Gazprom is … the success of Platforma Obywatelska.

– It is absolutely insolent that PO politicians, like Mr. Karpinski, are still trying to pretend that although they did not once oppose the Kremlin, they did not lead to Poland’s position strengthening at the expense of Gazprom, they are trying today to suggest that it was different with Gazprom. They cite the provision in the Yamal contract, which says that every three years the management board of PGNiG requests a price change. Each management board made such a unilateral statement because it was obliged to do so. By contrast, this statement in 2014 did not go completely. When we came to work, we found empty drawers. The claim for the dispute we won was not filed until February 2016. We stopped negotiations with the Russians because the PO, as confirmed by the 2015 stock market reports, was focused on reaching agreement with Gazprom. It was a total change of policy. A hard policy towards Russia, towards Gazprom, completely foreign to Karpinski, completely foreign to Platforma Obywatelska and Donald Tusk

– emphasizes Kowalski.

Billions have been credited to PGNiG’s account, and the PO politician claimed that … it was thanks to PO. Minister Kowalski exposes manipulations

But this is not the end – the deputy minister also recalled the situation in 2010, which concerned gas prices.

All of Europe reduced gas prices due to the industrial crisis after 2008. Only one country did not want to reduce gas prices, even the Tusk and Pawlak administrations did not occur in 2009-2010, when we were negotiating gas, despite the support of President Lech Kaczynski. Then we said: “We will help you, we will support you”. They did not want to demand lower gas prices for Poles. What’s more, they supported the unfavorable gas formula of the Yamal contract and increased by 2 billion cubic meters Poland’s independence from Russian gas by 2022. So exactly this gas, those 2 cubic billions of gas that Platform entered in the Yamal contract, it was the gas that should be received from the first days by the gas terminal in Świnoujście. PO forced by PiS sluggishly, clumsily continued the construction of the gas terminal, but despite the fact that we spent hundreds of millions of zlotys on the gas terminal, the volume of gas that was to be bought was entered by the PO due to political arrangements with the Kremlin, which was in force until 2022. It was an absolute scandal

– ends.



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