Polish contractor crisis hits LNG project

By Helen Wright10 September 2013

Poland’s Treasury has been forced to push back the completion date of a major new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal for six months after a contractor bankruptcy and additional costs delayed the project.

The Ministry said the 5 billion m3 per year LNG Terminal in Swinoujscie on the Baltic Sea was now expected to be completed at the end of 2014.

It said the key reason for the delay was the “rising and current crisis in the construction market,” as well as the bankruptcy of Polish company PGB, one of the members of the consortium building the project. The other members of the consortium are Saipem, and Technit.

Polskie LNG, the state-controlled client, said a further €67.5 million had been added to the cost of the original €714 million contract.

A wave of bankruptcies have affected Poland’s construction sector, with around 300 companies going bust in 2012. On top of this, contractors complain of weak procurement controls.

In June, for instance, Spanish contractor FCC Construccion withdrew from a contract to build a ring road around the Polish town of Szczuczyn, blaming failures by the national road agency, the GDDKiA, in disclosing key information during the tender phase.

And this summer also saw six European ambassadors write to Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Janusz Piechociński expressing concern over claims that PLN10 billion (€2.35 billion) worth of construction claims were pending before Polish courts.

They said this indicated some “fundamental and systematic challenges connected with the execution of major infrastructure projects in Poland”.

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