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Friday, April 19, 2024

PKN Orlen lowered wholesale fuel prices. Piotr Woźniak: We are dealing with a duopoly. Saudi Aramco and Orlen suddenly did the same. This smells like price fixing

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I wonder how long it will take. I expect a very imminent increase – said Piotr Woźniak, former minister of economy and former president of PGNiG, in “Rozmowie Piaseckiego” on TVN24, commenting on Orlen’s pricing policy. He also assessed that “we are dealing with a duopoly”.

Orlen has significantly reduced wholesale prices in recent days fuel pricesat the same time, prices at stations – despite the increase in the VAT rate – remained unchanged.

WATCH THE ENTIRE “CONVERSATION OF PIASECKI” ON TVN24 GO

Piotr Woźniak in “Rozmowa Piaseckiego” said that he was wondering “how long it will take”. “I expect a very imminent increase,” he added.

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Former Minister of Economy and former President PGNiG “We’re dealing with a duopoly.” As he said, “it turns out that wholesale fuel prices were lowered at the turn of the year by both quasi-competing companies, i.e. Saudi Aramco at Lotos stations (…) and Orlen did the same”.

– This, of course, smells of price-fixing from a distance – added Wozniak. He thinks he should investigate the office of Competition and Consumer Protection.

“This reminds me of thinking from the very center of the People’s Republic of Poland”

When asked if he believed Orlen’s explanations that when fuel prices were lower than before the February shock, he had to regulate domestic and European demand, because if he lowered prices to the level he paid for fuel, all of Europe would come to Poland and buy fuel , and in addition, Poles would also start to consume more of it, and Orlen would not be able to deliver this fuel, Woźniak replied that it would not.

– This reminds me of thinking from the very center of the People’s Republic of Poland, when the highest good was goods – he added.

He stressed that “all companies should operate for profit”. – If they are able to make a profit, then they should profit from every major sale (…) and be happy about it, and not complain that they will run out of goods for sale. If they run out, they are not suitable for running a business – added Woźniak.

Piotr WozniakTVN24

Woźniak: Since the middle of last year, we have been dealing with overpricing

In Woźniak’s opinion, “more or less since the middle of last year” we have been dealing with overpricing. He added that at that time crude oil prices were “systematically falling”. “Of course, it wasn’t a linear decline,” he said. He added that “we have been in a downtrend, which would mean that prices should have been falling rather than rising since June.”

He also referred to the words of the chief economist of PKN Orlen, Adam B. Czyżewski. – We are accused that since we lowered the price on December 30, we could have done it earlier. We couldn’t, because the situation on the market is such that we would lead to queues at stations. And now the retail price has not fallen, because there is still no room for it to fall due to limited supply, he said in an interview with PAP.

The guest of “Piasecki’s Conversation” assessed that it was “walking around the topic”. “This is the first time I’ve heard of any vendor caring about the queues outside their counter,” he said.

– I am not a supporter of high prices, because no, but of course prices should not be based on monopoly dictates, but on the basis of the balance between supply and demand. This is an indicator of market equilibrium – said Woźniak.

“UOKiK should investigate this”

– When it comes to overpricing or underselling too much, that is what state institutions are responsible for reacting to. At the request of politicians, companies, or (…) they also have a mandate to act independently, for example, UOKiK can do it alone, without being asked for an opinion by anyone, or without being asked – he explained.

In his opinion, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection should investigate this. “If he investigates it now on someone else’s call, we’ll have the full picture, but it’s not enough.” UOKIK’s intervention is usually a good cold shower for the company so that it does not use (price-red.) collusion – he said.

Main photo source: TVN24



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