Just a few days ago, the president of PKN Orlen, Daniel Obajtek, argued that he could not lower fuel prices, because “a week or two would be enough and we would have a complete paralysis of the country”. On Thursday, however, it turned out to be possible. The head of the Płock concern announced a reduction in petrol and diesel prices before the May weekend.
In an interview with “Super Express” on April 19, 2023, the president of Orlen tried to explain why he could not lower fuel prices.
– If I lowered fuel prices, I would automatically upset the import parity. 5 million tons of fuels are imported to Poland by other entities, which means that I would have to buy the fuel imported to Poland more expensive – to sell it cheaper in Poland. Or we would run out of 5 million liters of fuel. A week or two would suffice and we would have a complete paralysis of the country. They already redid it Hungarians, trying to regulate fuel prices from above – they dismantled the entire economy. I know a lot of people who travel around the world and say: we are waiting until we reach the Polish border to refuel cheaper – said Obajtek.
However, a reduction is possible – a few days makes a difference
When asked when “it will stop looting drivers”, the president of PKN Orlen replied: – It so happens that we do not loot drivers.
Then he added: – It is worth knowing what the fuel price consists of and why it cannot be cheaper. OPEC countries decided to reduce production and the price of oil went up. It also affects prices dollar’s exchange rate. In the last few years, the prices of bio-additives have gone up by 100 percent. The price of CO2 emission allowances increased significantly. To this must be added state taxes and rising salaries of employees. Within 10 years, salaries have gone up by almost 100 percent – all this has an impact on the final price of fuel. We do everything to have the cheapest fuels in Europe and not to run out of them.
The situation changed dramatically after exactly 9 days – on Friday, April 28, via Twitter, the president announced a reduction in fuel prices at Orlen stations. “We have good news for the May weekend – we are lowering fuel prices: diesel by PLN 0.12/l, and Pb 95 by PLN 0.8/l” – he wrote.
The opposition demands an explanation
KO MPs Arkadiusz Myrcha, Michał Krawczyk, Aleksander Miszalski and Krzysztof Truskolaski organized a press conference on Friday in front of one of the Orlen stations in Warsaw. As Krawczyk said, Poles cannot go on a long weekend in May because “their household budgets are not able to bear the refueling of the car”. – Prices in Poland do not have to be so high – he argued.
In his opinion, contrary to what the authorities of PKN Orlen say, petrol prices are not directly related to oil prices. Krawczyk provided data which showed that on February 18, 2022, before the explosion war in Ukraine, the price of crude oil was USD 96 per barrel, and the price of gasoline was PLN 5.39 per liter. In turn, on April 24, 2023, the price of oil on global markets is USD 79 per barrel, and the price of gasoline in Poland is PLN 6.80 per liter.
– Over the past year, the price of oil has fallen by 20 percent, and the price of 95-octane gasoline has increased by 25 percent. This is the policy of PiS and Orlen, which consists in looting Poles on a daily basis and robbing household budgets. This is against the principles of economics, mathematics and common human decency. He said that in the past, an increase in the price of oil caused an increase in the price of petrol at the stations, and a decrease in the price of oil caused a decrease in the price of petrol. Now, he added, the two elements are unrelated.
“Today we have more miracles”
Miszalski cited data on Orlen’s margin. In his opinion, in 2015 the margin was PLN 0.26 per liter of fuel, while this year it was PLN 0.86 per liter of fuel. – Orlen collects 86 grosz from each liter of fuel for its profits – he said.
He added that since Orlen is almost a monopoly on the fuel market in Poland, it dictates margin prices to other station chains. – All this generates these gigantic profits, which the president (Daniel) Both proud of it, said Miszalski.
He also argued that for his salary, a Pole can buy an average of 600 liters of fuel a year, and two years ago it was 800 liters. – Only Romanians, Bulgarians, Hungarians and Greeks are worse – he noted.
– Today we have more miracles. President Daniel Obajtek comes out and says: there will be lower prices for the May weekend. Mr. President, where did this reduction come from? Have oil prices dropped sharply recently? Truskolaski asked.
– No, before the May weekend you just want to reduce the margin. But you should have done it a long time ago. In his opinion, “Orlen preys on the fact that there is a war in Ukraine and wants to earn money from Poles.”
Orlen spokeswoman on prices at stations
Orlen’s spokeswoman Edyta Olkowicz appeared at the conference of opposition deputies. – Prices at PKN Orlen stations are among the lowest in the European Union – she argued.
When asked: how much do you earn wholesale, what is the wholesale margin of PKN Orlen, Olkowicz replied: – I am not able to answer you now, what is the wholesale margin.
– We’d like to know, we’re taking advantage of your presence. We are very pleased that you are at the conference today, so we would like you to tell the truth about how much Orlen earns wholesale from Poles, asked one of the MPs.
– Orlen does not make money from Poles. (…) Three percent of the retail, this is the earnings we were talking about – said the spokeswoman.
When asked what percentage of the fuel market is served by the Orlen refinery, the spokeswoman replied: – What percentage? What percentage do they serve? Please remember that we have wholesale and we have retail. 70 percent.
She added that fuels from the Orlen refinery are delivered “to various stations”.
Main photo source: PAP/Tomasz Waszczuk