On July 15, 2016, the Al-Khuwair LNG carrier which belongs to Qatar Gas Transport Company Ltd. (known as “Nakilat”, which means “carriers” in Arabic) delivered 212,000 cubic metres of LNG to the Świnoujście LNG terminal. The supplier of the gas is Qatargas Operating Company.
It was the fifth delivery of LNG to Świnoujście and the third commercial-one. This means, that the total amount of LNG delivered to the brand new Baltic sea terminal has reached nearly 1 million cubic metres.
There have been as many as five cargo deliveries brought to Świnoujscie aboard three LNG tankers, to date.
The first commercial delivery of LNG took place on June 17. The Q-flex type liquefied natural gas carrier Al-Nuaman, chartered by Qatargas, brought the first shipment of 210,000 cbm of the chilled fuel, under a 20-year contract which Polish companies PGNiG and Polskie LNG had signed with Qatargas.
The day after, the facility on the Baltic Sea was officially named after late President Lech Kaczynski, during whose term the project was initiated in 2006.
The first commercial delivery in June 2016 was preceded by a number of tests. In December 2015, the 315 metres long Al-Nuaman called at the terminal with LNG required for test start-up and launch of the installation. The test LNG cargo, delivered from Qatari port of Ras Laffan was used in the commissioning and cool-down of the Świnoujście LNG terminal. Another LNG supply aboard the abovementioned ship was delivered in February 2016 and used for additional system testing.
The second commercial delivery of LNG took place on June 25, 2016. The spot cargo was delivered by Statoil from its Hammerfest LNG facility on Melkoya island aboard the 147,980 cbm Arctic Princess. According to PGNiG, around mid-July further spot cargo deliveries were expected to follow.
With its length of 315 metres and a beam of 50 metres, the Al-Khuwair Q-flex tanker along with the Al-Nauman sister ship is one of the largest vessels which have entered the Świnoujście port.
The LNG brought aboard the Al-Khuwair was unloaded within 24 hours and after regasification, almost 127 million cbm of natural gas was pumped into the transmission grid operated by Gas-System SA, a state-owned company responsible for the transmission of natural gas and the management of the most important gas pipelines in Poland. The company is also the owner of Polskie LNG SA, a company established to build the Świnoujście LNG terminal.
The Swinoujscie terminal has an initial annual capacity of five billion cubic metres of natural gas, but this could soon grow to 7.5 billion cubic metres. The facility consists of a 3-km long breakwater, a jetty that will be able to unload carriers with the capacity ranging from 120,000 to 217,000 cbm, two 160,000 cbm LNG storage tanks, regasification facilities and an 85-km pipeline connecting the facility with the Polish gas grid.
– The terminal is one of the most important elements of building Poland’s energy independence and diversification of gas supplies – said Tomasz Pietrasienski, a spokesman for Gaz-System.
Poland relies on Russian gas for two-thirds of its needs. Polish authorities has proposed doubling the terminal’s initial capacity of 5 billion cubic meters a year, or about a third of annual consumption, and building a pipeline to Norway to completely cut its reliance on Russia.
According to Piotr Naimski, Poland’s deputy minister in charge of energy security, as commercial LNG supplies begin, Poland is seeking to lower prices under a long-term contract with Gazprom that expires in 2022. After that, the country has no intention of renewing the deal on current terms and sees Russian imports only as a supplement if beneficial on price terms.