An expert has warned that Poland’s ageing gas infrastructure is approaching the end of its service date and will be unable to cope with future increases in demand.
“The majority of the network was built under the Polish People's Republic [communist Poland,” Dominik Smyrgała, director of postgraduate studies in energy security at the Collegium Civitas university, told Newseria Biznes.
“We have to lay down new gas pipes, or at the very least, replace those which already exist as their service life is ending. As a result of which they are going to be ever more frequently suffering from problems.”
Smyrgała was referring specifically to the network operated by the Polish Gas Company, the major gas distributor in Poland which is responsible for 170,000 km of gas pipes.
According to the expert, over half of these pipes are at least twenty years old, of which 49,000 km of the infrastructure is over 25 years old.
However Smyrgała pointed out that these investments will not be cheap, explaining “they will cost a lot of money, which could be tens or hundreds of millions of złoty, potentially even billions if the entire infrastructure is replaced.”
He added that the Polish Gas Company may have problems in raising the money as the tariffs it can charge have to be approved by a regulatory agency which usually opposes increases.