OSLO, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Norway's Statoil will not invest in a gas pipeline to Poland, the company said on Friday, setting back plans by Polish gas company PGNiG to reduce its dependence on supplies from Russia.
PGNiG had said on Thursday it wanted to build a pipeline between Poland and Norway by 2022, when its current deal to buy gas from Russia's Gazprom expires.
"Statoil will not invest in this infrastructure," Elin A. Isaksen, a spokeswoman for Statoil, said in an email to Reuters.
"However, we regard Poland as an interesting market and will look into using such infrastructure should it be realized and given that it is commercially attractive."
Norway is the European Union's second biggest gas supplier after Russia, and Statoil is responsible for 70 percent of oil and gas output from the Norwegian continental shelf.
Statoil's comments came a day after the operator of Norway's offshore gas pipeline system, Gassco, said it had no plans to build new pipelines to continental Europe.
"We have had dialogue with several parties regarding Norwegian gas infrastructure, and PGNiG is one of them, but Gassco has no expansion plans to the European continent currently," Gassco spokeswoman Lisbet Kallevik said.
Gassco, when previously asked about plans to build new pipelines to Europe, said current pipeline capacity was optimised, suggesting it matched production capacity on the Norwegian continental shelf.
PGNIG, which has a 12 percent stake in the BP-operated Skarv field in the Norwegian Sea and stakes in several other fields on the Norwegian continental shelf, will present details of the Norway pipeline project later this year.
The Polish company had been involved in the Skanled pipeline project to bring Norwegian gas to Sweden, Denmark and possibly Poland. The 10 billion crown ($1.16 billion) project was suspended in 2009 due to the global economic crisis.
Gassco said at the time that project could be relaunched if commercial conditions improved. ($1 = 8.6341 Norwegian crowns)
(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Nina Chestney/Mark Heinrich)
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