sabine pass medium res_0037.jpg

The first liquefied natural gas shipment from the United States to Poland was shipped from Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass LNG export facility in Cameron Parish last year. The shipment and long-term contracts signed Thursday are part of Poland's — and the region's — efforts to cut dependence on Russia.

WARSAW, Poland — Poland's main gas company signed a long-term contract Thursday to receive deliveries of liquefied natural gas from Louisiana and Texas as part of a larger effort to reduce its energy dependence on Russia.

The state company PGNiG signed the 24-year deal with American supplier Cheniere during a ceremony in Warsaw attended by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Polish President Andrzej Duda.

A tanker sailing just over a year ago out of Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass LNG facility in Cameron Parish was the first liquefied natural gas shipment ever delivered from the United States to Poland and in general to eastern and northern Europe, which are building a new network of energy sources and gas transportation. Cheniere also is developing an LNG terminal in Corpus Christi, Texas, expected to go online in 2019. 

Poland opened its first terminal for LNG in Swinoujscie, on the Baltic Sea coast, in 2016 to receive gas from distant suppliers like the U.S. or Qatar, which has already made some deliveries.

"This is a sign across Europe that this is how your energy security will be developed, your energy sources diversified," Perry said before the Thursday deal was signed.

The value of the deal with the Polish company was not disclosed, in line with traditional secrecy for such energy deals. However, Piotr Wozniak, the president of PGNiG's management board, said the price is 20 to 30 percent lower than what Poland pays its current supplier in Russia.

Under the deal, Poland will receive some 700 million cubic meters of natural gas from 2019 through 2022, and 39 billion cubic meters from 2023 through 2042. Poland's annual consumption of gas is almost 16 billion cubic meters, 25 percent of which is covered from Poland's own deposits.

In October, PGNiG signed a separate long-term contract for the purchase of some 50 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas from Louisiana-based Venture Global Calcasieu Pass and Venture Global Plaquemines LNG, two terminals that are planned in the state.

Wozniak said the Thursday's deal would help provide a safety net to protect neighboring Ukraine from unexpected breaks in Russian gas deliveries. PGNiG is planning two more deals for U.S. gas deliveries, he said.

Poland and Ukraine feel especially vulnerable due to their dependence on Russia energy supplies, which Moscow has used as political leverage in the past.

Their anxieties have increased because of a German-Russian project to build Nord Stream 2, a second pipeline under the Baltic Sea that would deliver gas directly from St. Petersburg to Germany, bypassing Ukraine and Poland.

Perry is visiting several countries of central and eastern Europe to expand on energy partnerships in the region, the Department of Energy said.

That was to replace a deal expiring with Russia's Gazprom and was the first such deal in central and eastern Europe.