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A tanker loads liquefied natural gas bound in mid-2017 for Poland from Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass LNG export facility in Cameron Parish. The leaders of France, Spain and Portugal say they want to diversify their energy sources, which could mean more imports of LNG from the United States.

WARSAW, Poland — Poland's state-owned gas company says it has signed a five-year deal to buy liquefied natural gas from the U.S. through a Louisiana terminal as Europe seeks to cut its dependence on imports from Russia.

The company, called PGNiG, says that starting next year the Centrica LNG Co. Ltd. will make nine shipments of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, from Chieniere Energy's Sabine Pass terminal in southwest Louisiana to Poland's gas port in Swinoujscie on the Baltic coast. Poland already received a few one-off LNG deliveries earlier this year.

PGNiG said in a statement it was the first such contract for regular LNG deliveries to central and eastern Europe, a region seeking to cut dependence on Russia, which has used its gas exports as a policy tool.

Poland also is seeking to buy natural gas from Norway.

In June, a shipment from Cheniere's Sabine Pass facility in Cameron Parish was the first delivery of U.S. gas to eastern and northern Europe, which is building a new network of energy sources and gas transportation.

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

The region is trying to cut its reliance on Russia, which has occasionally used its gas exports to exert political pressure. It is planning to bring in gas from the North Sea and also to boost its own production.

The U.S. is rich in natural gas extracted from shale formations and has been exporting the fuel to southern European nations such as Spain and Turkey, expanding to nations in the continent's north.

Cheniere has been shipping LNG from its Sabine Pass terminal since Feb. 24, 2016, and celebrated its 100th cargo in April, touting the delivery of cargoes to 18 countries on five continents at the time.

Cheniere was the first company to ship LNG from the continental United States in more than 50 years. It operates three liquefaction units at Sabine Pass, with a fourth unit's first commercial delivery expected in first-quarter 2018. A fifth unit is under construction for operations in 2019, while a sixth is permitted. Cheniere Energy also has two units under construction at its liquefaction project near Corpus Christi, Texas, with operations at both expected to begin in 2019.

With the two LNG facilities, Cheniere and its subsidiaries are expected to invest about $30 billion in U.S. energy infrastructure.