Poland signs 20-year deal to buy natural gas from the US

WARSAW, Poland — Poland has signed a long-term deal with a U.S. company for supplies of liquefied natural gas as part of an effort to reduce its dependence on Russian energy, the two sides announced on Wednesday.

Port Arthur LNG, a subsidiary of San Diego-based Sempra Energy, and Poland's state gas company PGNiG jointly announced the agreement for the sale of 2.7 billion cubic meters per year of gas to Poland over a 20-year period.

Their statement said that is enough to meet about 15 percent of Poland's daily gas needs.

"This agreement marks an important step toward Poland's energy independence and security," the U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said.

Sempra Energy's CEO Jeffrey Martin said the deal helps his company "advance our vision to become North America's premier energy infrastructure company."

No financial details were disclosed, in line with the secretive nature of gas deals, which are sensitive politically given Russia's dominance of Europe's energy market.

In recent weeks Poland also signed long-term deals for gas with American suppliers Cheniere and Venture Global Calcasieu Pass and Venture Global Plaquemines LNG.

These deals have been sealed as both Poland and the United States have been trying to stop Nord Stream 2, a pipeline under construction that, when finished, would transport gas from Russia to energy-hungry Germany.

Poland, along with several other European countries, see Nord Stream 2, which bypasses Ukraine, as a political project meant to weaken that country and gain leverage over Europe by making it more dependent on Russian gas.

Officials for the Nord Stream 2 dispute that view, saying it is merely a commercial project and would not cut off Ukraine, pointing to diversification of Europe's gas market.

Also Wednesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan met with Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz in Warsaw, the last stop in a visit to several countries in the region.

Ahead of his visit the State Department said he would meet with Polish leaders to discuss shared concerns over Nord Stream 2, among other issues.

Czaputowicz told reporters in Warsaw that Nord Stream 2 is "harmful to the security of all of the European Union."

He called Germany's support for the project "anti-European" and also faulted Austria for using its six-month EU presidency, which ends this month, to keep the issue off Europe's agenda.