* EU lifted cap on Gazprom's use of Opal gas link in Germany
* Poland and Ukraine to take joint actions to oppose the
* Analysts are sceptical the two can block Gazprom's
(Adds analyst comment)
WARSAW, Dec 2 Poland and Ukraine plan to act
jointly to block projects that could result in Russia's Gazprom
gaining greater access to the European gas market by
bypassing Ukraine, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on
In October the European Union lifted a cap on Gazprom's use
of the Opal pipeline which carries gas from the Nord Stream
pipeline that crosses the Baltic Sea to end-users in Germany and
the Czech Republic.
That decision opens the way for Russian plans to expand Nord
Stream's capacity and bypass Ukraine as a gas transit route.
Poland, which imports most of the gas it consumes from
Russia, immediately criticised the Commission's move saying it
threatens gas supplies to central and eastern Europe.
Ukraine has not bought gas from Russia for about a year due
to a political stand-off with Moscow, which annexed Ukraine's
Crimea in 2014.
Chief Executive Officer at Polish state-run gas firm PGNiG
Piotr Wozniak had planned to visit Ukraine in November
to discuss a joint response to the Opal decision.
Earlier this week a local daily quoted Wozniak as suggesting
the Commission's decisions are contradictory, keeping EU
sanctions on Russia while reinforcing Gazprom's gas monopoly
which he says helps Russia's "war budget".
On Friday the presidents of Poland and Ukraine advocated a
review of the Commission's decision on Opal but acknowledged in
a joint statement that could be "very difficult and painful".
"We do not support the European Commission's decisions
regarding the Opal link and the construction of Nord Stream 2,"
Poroshenko said at a joint conference with Poland's president
Andrzej Duda in Warsaw.
"We have decided to coordinate our actions in order not to
allow these projects to take place," Poroshenko also said.
Duda told the same conference Poland supports Ukraine in its
fight for sovereignty.
Analysts are sceptical though about Poland's and Ukraine's
plans to stop Gazprom's expansion in Europe.
"These objections now remind me of those when Nord Stream 1
was built. I think the recent EU decisions show that the new gas
link (NS2) will be built and no pressure or lawsuits will help,"
oil and gas expert Andrzej Szczesniak said, adding Poland and
Ukraine cannot count on much backing from other parties.
"Business is business and politics is politics, but this is
not well understood in Poland," he added.
PGNiG said it will unveil details of its legal actions
against the EU decision on Monday.
(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; editing by Jason Neely/Ruth