WARSAW: Washington’s energy secretary on Thursday hailed a 24-year deal to deliver US liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Poland as signal for Europe on ensuring energy security and easing dependence on Russian supplies.
The deal, the second multi-decade agreement with a US firm signed in two months, comes as Warsaw looks to diversify its gas supplies in an effort to wean itself off its heavy reliance on Russia amid tensions with Moscow.
“This is a signal across Europe that this is how your energy future can be developed, the security of the country, the diversity of supply — this is a great day for Europe,” US energy secretary Rick Perry said at a signing ceremony in Warsaw with Polish President Andrzej Duda.
Poland, which currently sources about two-thirds of its gas from Kremlin-backed Russian energy giant Gazprom, is also eyeing imports from Norway and Qatar.
State-run gas firm PGNiG said it had sealed a two-tranche 24-year deal for LNG deliveries from the Texas-based Cheniere Marketing International, amounting to a total of 40.95 billion cubic meters of natural gas after regasification. “This deal will provide Poland with energy security,” said Duda, adding that the agreement reflects “a real transatlantic partnership.”
The deal with the US firm is due to take effect in 2019, three years before Warsaw’s current contract with Gazprom for 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year is set to end.
PGNiG CEO Piotr Wozniak said the terms of the deal including “a competitive price, are fully satisfactory” although no value for the contract was provided, adding two further deals were planned.
“We want to build a full supply portfolio,” he said.
PGNiG struck a similar 20-year deal in October with the US-based Venture Global LNG for delivery of up to two million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year.
Poland in October filed a complaint with the EU’s top court against a controversial deal by the European Commission to settle an anti-trust case against Gazprom.
This allowed Gazprom to avoid billions in fines after eight eastern EU members including Poland claimed the Russian giant had abused its dominant position as a gas provider in their region.
The settlement with the EU came after Gazprom agreed to benchmark prices in eastern Europe against prices in the rest of Europe, and to drop clauses restricting the re-export of gas by clients.
Perry and Poland’s energy minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski signed a declaration of cooperation on energy security later on Thursday.
The US official also attended cyber security exercises near Warsaw where US experts trained Poles on how to prevent attacks by hackers on power grids.
Pak-Iran train service restores in Chaghi
CHAGHI: The Pakistan and Iran train services have been restored after completing the rescue activities here today.
According to the Railway sources, three days back the cargo train was de-tracked due to failing an engine resulting around 100 feet railway track was damaged in this incident.
After a hectic effort of the Railway department with several labor workers, the service of Railway reopened and track reconstructed in a short time period.
PRs Rwp Division earns Rs 1587m
RAWALPINDI: With continuous efforts and hard work of railways management, officers and workers, Pakistan Railways’ Rawalpindi Division earned over Rs 1587.960 million during last six months, 57.99 percent of total Rs 2738.285 million targets set for 2018-19.
Talking to APP Division Commercial Officer (DCO) Rawalpindi Hamid Farooq Qureshi informed that so many initiatives were taken by the management to improve the revenue of the Railways.
To a question he said, Pakistan Railways, Rawalpindi Division earned Rs 180.654 million through E-Ticketing facility during six months while during the 2017-18 financial year Rs 173.787 million revenue was generated.
The DCO informed that nearly three-year back the facility was re-launched in an effort to facilitate the passengers in booking their seats from anywhere in the country. Initially, the online system was introduced for the railways flagship train ‘Green Line Express’, besides five rail cars.
The E-ticketing facility is now available here for all passenger trains, he said adding, the online booking system has not only ended black marketing of tickets but also improved PR’s accounting system.
The PRs re-launched the E-ticketing system in collaboration with United Bank Limited. The passengers can pay for their tickets online via credit or debit cards, online bank transfers or microtransactions like UBL Omni, Easypaisa or Mobicash, he added.
With the digital ticketing system, the passengers can book and pay for tickets from the comfort of their home by using computers or mobile phones, he said. Moreover, the digital system has increased the seat capitalization for the railways and decrease chances of corruption.
Everything is being handled electronically so tickets can be booked quickly and efficiently with no human interaction, he replied to a question.
The division also completed a number of projects to improve security, upgrade its system and facilitate the passengers.
The DCO said the renovation projects of ladies and gents waiting rooms, toilets, booking office at Platform No. 1 & 2 of Rawalpindi Railway Station for Kohat Railcar passengers was completed during last financial year.
A construction project of Tarnol Railway Station with erecting new boundary wall and watch towers at Rawalpindi Railway Station, boundary wall with barbed wire fencing at Rawalpindi Railway Station approach road to ensure the security of the Railway Station was completed a few months ago.
Under a project, solar panels were installed at gate signals/lamps and station signals of the entire division, he said adding, no more procurement of Kerosene oil since last two years.
Rawalpindi Reservation office was completely renovated while major stations of the division were also upgraded. Seven un-manned Railway level crossings in the division were upgraded to Class-II manned level crossings on the main line.
He further informed that latest LED lights were installed to improve the lighting system in yards, stations, and Railway colonies. Security gadgets were provided to the Railway police and CCTV cameras were also installed at Rawalpindi Railway station to improve security arrangements.
State-of-the-art car parking and security system adopted with best arrangements made to facilitate the passengers and visitors at Rawalpindi Railway station, he informed.
Arab economic summit opens in Beirut
BEIRUT: An economic development summit kicked off in the Lebanese capital Beirut today.
Organized by the Arab League, the summit is attended by only three Arab leaders; Lebanon’s Michel Aoun, Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania.
Most Arab states are represented at the summit by delegations at the ambassadorial level. Syria, whose Arab League membership has been suspended since 2011, and Libya are not taking part in the meeting. The last Arab economic summit was held in the Saudi capital Riyadh in 2013.