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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Orlen fusion with Lotos. Daniel Obajtek on the influence of the Russians on the energy market

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On Wednesday, PKN Orlen announced the implementation of the so-called remedial measures to be able to take over Lotos. Orlen chose partners who, among others will buy individual parts of the Gdańsk-based company. These include Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) and the Hungarian concern MOL. Some commentators associate these two concerns with Russian influence. – We are fully secured, we have certain laws that block such a move and there is no such possibility – said the president of Orlen, Daniel Obajtek, asked on Saturday in RMF whether the Russians could enter the Polish energy market through MOL.

According to the Orlen decisions announced on Wednesday, Saudi Aramco for about PLN 1.15 billion will buy 30 percent. shares in the Lotos refinery, Hungarian MOL – 417 Lotos petrol stations, and the Unimot – fuel bases. Orlen stated that in this way it was fulfilling the Remedial Conditions of the European Commission for the takeover of Lotos. At the same time, Orlen signed three contracts with the Saudis: for oil supplies, cooperation in the area of ​​research and development and joint analyzes of investments in the petrochemical area.

Saudi Aramco and Hungarian MOL among contractors

Daniel Obajtek was asked on Saturday on RMF whether there is a risk that the Russians are behind the contracts with Saudi Aramco.

– You can always scare the Russians, but the three agreements we signed do not show the Russian direction – he said.

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– It is not a matter of selling the entire refinery, it is not a matter of selling the entire Lotos, it is a matter of 30 percent. Gdańsk refinery. We had to meet remedial conditions to merge the companies. We have to build a powerful multi-energy company, which will have revenues of PLN 200 billion, because only such a company can carry out the energy transformation in Poland. Lotos itself does not have such a possibility and we cannot run the economy in such a way that sooner or later the bankruptcy trustee will come and take over these plants because they will be unprofitable – he assessed.

Obajtek argued that “thanks to this decision, Lotos saved and we actually saved the Polish economy, because today alternative fuels will cost, and the transformation will cost money”.

Obajtek was asked if there was any danger that in some time MOL would “let Russians into the Polish energy market through its back door”.

– It is not possible. We are secured by contracts, I cannot fully disclose the provisions of the contract, but we are fully secured, we have certain rights that block such a movement and there is no such possibility – he emphasized.

The merger of Orlen and Lotos is finalized

Asked when the merger of Lotos and Orlen will become a fact and MOL will enter the Polish market, the head of Orlen replied that “there is a question of June, the turn of June and July”. – We believe that this process can take place quickly so that we can act quickly with our partners – he stressed.

When asked if the Lotos brand would disappear from the Polish market, he denied it. “No, some stations will be rebranded as Orlen stations, i.e. over 100 stations, while for five years Lotos stations will be under the Lotos brand, and then we will make decisions – because we have the rights to this brand – whether we will allow this brand to continue functioning, or we will sell the brand itself “- he pointed out.


Merger of PKN Orlen and Lotos. The decision of the European Commission

The actions defined by the European Commission in July 2020 enabling Orlen to take over Lotos include, among others: sale of 30 percent shares in the refinery of this company along with a large package of management rights. This is to give the buyer the right to about half of the refinery’s diesel and gasoline production, while ensuring access to storage and logistics infrastructure.

Another condition is the sale of nine fuel depots to an independent logistics operator and the construction of a new jet fuel import terminal in Szczecin, which – after completion – would be handed over to this operator. The EC also ordered the sale of 389 fuel stations in Poland, which constitute approximately 80 percent. Lotos chain, sale of 50 percent. Lotos’s share in a joint venture with BP, dealing in trading in jet fuel, making available to competitors in the Czech Republic up to 80 thousand. tonnes of jet fuel through an open tender procedure, sale of two bitumen production plants in Poland and delivery to the buyer annually up to 500 thousand. tons of bitumen or the so-called heavy residues.

Main photo source: Piotr Nowak / PAP

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