By Patryk Wasilewski
WARSAW--Parts of the Polish gas market, which is dominated by state-controlled monopoly Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA (PGN.WA), could start to be opened up at the beginning of next year, the head of the country's energy regulator URE said Thursday.
Poland's gas market is entirely regulated with URE setting gas prices for both corporate and individual clients as PGNiG is the sole supplier of natural gas.
"I think we will start opening up the first segments of the wholesale market in the first quarter and later on, depending on the pace of developments in the gas market, we will get to the retail market over the years," Marek Woszczyk told TVN CNBC.
In the electricity market, prices for corporate clients are unregulated, but individuals are protected by the regulator with state-set prices.
Mr. Woszczyk reiterated he expects to cut the price of natural gas in January next year after PGNiG struck a deal with OAO Gazprom (GAZP.RS) to lower the price of gas it imports from Russia by over 10%.
And because of ongoing changes in the European gas market, the outlook for Polish shale-gas developments and the waning role of oil-indexed long-term supply contracts, the January price reduction could be the start of a multi-year cycle of price cuts, Mr. Woszczyk said.
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