At the beginning of August this year, Bloomberg released an information, according to which there was a possibility that the Eni company may soon sell the controlling interest they have in Saipem. It is a specialised company, which had realized the best known Russian energy-related investments, such as Nord Stream or Blue Stream. Now the above-mentioned company is involved, along with Gazprom, in the South Stream project. In Poland it is the assigned contractor of the LNG terminal.
According to Robert Zieliński, investigation journalist of the TVN24.pl portal the conflict developing between Poland and the Saipem company is one of the reasons for further delays in constructions of the Świnoujście LNG terminal. The plant was to be originally ready for operation in mid-2014, but after the annex to the agreement has been signed in September last year, the deadline has been prolonged until the end of 2014. We should also note the July interview of Janusz Piechociński in the Polish 3rd Radio Programme, in which he even suggested at least one year of delay of the investment (May/June 2015) and Andrzej Parafianowicz , who claimed that 2017 is a realistic deadline, according to the recordings revealed by the Wprost weekly. Saipem’s involvement in the Russian projects, which to a large extent exceeds the value of the contract with the Polish Party, raises a lot of doubts within the context of Zielinski’s claims, regarding the real reasons for the increasing delay of construction of the LNG terminal in Świnoujście. The latest press reports only increase the level of concern related to the Italian company, which is being controlled by Eni.
Rosineft’s overtaking Saipem, with Rosineft being managed by Igor Syechin, who is closely tied to Putin, may be dramatic in its results for the key energy-related investment which is being recently realized in Poland. It is possible that the new owner will generate further problems and hand-off will be delayed even more. Saipem may even completely step away from the investment, regardless of the contractual penalties, as politics are becoming a key factor here. Such scenario would be particularly dangerous, since, as Tomasz Chmal who is an energy expert from the Sobieski Institute, notes, due to the patent and technological causes, no other company would be able to finish the works in the new Polish LNG Terminal.
Meanwhile, variant in which Rosineft buys the Saipem company is quite realistic, taking into account the fact that the Russian company is quite interested in being involved in such transaction. More and more media reports related to this issue can be noted and the stock exchange market reacts to the situation quite vividly. Drastic delays in execution of the LNG terminal became a giant problem for Poland, as it needs to receive the gas which has been contracted from the Persian Gulf. On the other hand, it is a pure source of profit for the Russians. Not only is the delay profitable within the context of delaying the diversification of the gas supply for Poland, but also within the scope of economic optimization of the Qatar contract. Within the scope of SWAP transaction, the Qatar resources could be delivered by Gazprom, which would limit the Polish Petroleum and Gas Mining (PGNiG) company losses, incurred due to the unfinished LNG terminal. Probably such solution would have many proponents in Poland, since in the business dimension it would be “rational”.