Energy 14 August, 2017 9:00 am   
Editorial staff

Wasilewski: Poland buys increasingly more oil from other sources than Russia. Possible deliveries to Belarus (interview)

Expansion of the oil terminal, future of the Odessa-Brody-Gdańsk oil pipeline and a reverse flow on the oil pipeline between Poland and Belarus – these are some of the topics we discussed with PERN S.A. CEO Igor Wasilewski. Recently PERN has purchased plots to expand the Oil Terminal in Gdańsk (TNG). How much will the storage capacity of oil and petroleum products increase?

PERN did not purchase the plots, we are leasing the terminal’s area from the Port of Gdansk Authority (ZMPG). Some of the area has been already covered with crude oil tanks as part of the first stage of constructing the TNG (the facility was opened in April 2016). Currently the second stage of the TNG construction where we will build new crude oil tanks with a capacity of 360 thousand cm is being implemented. PERN is also building an additional 200 thousand cm capacity for crude oil at its second base in Górki Zachodnie near Gdańsk and that is where we did buy the plots for construction of the new tanks.

It has been two years since Polish companies thanks to the Naftoport restarted to import oil from the Middle East. Percentage-wise what is the participation of the resource from that direction in the storage units and transshipments at PERN?

The Naftoport’s terminal unloads oil from various countries, including the Middle East. In the last two years PERN has noticed an increased volume of crude oils other than REBCO oil. The main alternative to REBCO is Iranian Light and Arabian Light. In 2017 the crude oil from the Middle East constituted about 30% of supply by sea transshipped at the Naftoport. In 2015 this kind of crude oil constituted about 5% of all marine deliveries. Such an increase testifies to the supply diversification strategy and the search for alternative types of crude oil .

Last year information agencies reported that because of the increasing competition at Poland’s Naftoport, mostly caused by the new oil from the Middle East, Mercuria, which trades with Russia’s Ural oil, wanted to withdraw from Poland. What does the cooperation with this company look like today?

The emergence of new types of crude oil for transshipment at the Naftoport results from the strategy of supply diversification pursued by Polish refineries. Our side has not experienced any changes in cooperation with Mercuria, or noticed the company feared competition at the Polish Naftoport. PERN is very open to cooperation with Mercuria, least of all because of the good experiences we have had on both sides so far.

At what stage is the Odessa-Brody-Gdańsk project? What conditions need to be met for the project to enter the next phase of implementation? 

Currently we are concluding the update of the project’s feasibility study and depending on its results further decisions on the future of the project will be made. The implementation of the project depends on ensuring the expected return on investment, as well as on receiving a confirmation on whether the end users, i.e. Polish refineries, were still interested in the oil transmitted via the planned oil pipeline.

The company announced it would verify if the oil pipeline could be constructed between Poland and Belarus in a way that would enable the oil to flow from the west to the east as well. How much has been analyzed? Is there any interest on the other side of the border?

We are constantly trying to streamline the system to match the expectations of our key clients and this is what is pushing our investment projects, e.g. the reverse on the Eastern Section. The planned reverse flow will increase the flexibility of our system and allow us to use the facility in Adamowo as a storage unit, in case deliveries from Russia drop. It will also make it possible to pump oil to Belarus and Ukraine. We have a technical analysis of a reverse for the Eastern Section and currently we are conducting preparatory work for the implementation of the project. In order to enable pumping from Miszewko Strzałkowskie to Adamowo it is necessary to remodel the technical infrastructure at both facilities and at intermediate pump stations. On the basis of the analysis we assumed the remodeling of the technological infrastructure would have to be conducted in two stages. The implementation of the first stage will make it possible to transmit 15 million tons a year to the east. The second stage will involve changes to the infrastructure of the intermediate pump stations, which will increase the capacity to 21 million annually. Currently we are preparing tender documentation for the realization of the planned reconstruction, including the acquisition of construction projects with construction permits. The design documentation is supposed to be ready in February 2018. The reconstruction will take place from 2018 to 2022.

In May an illegal drilling took place on one of the oil pipelines managed by PERN. What actions did the company take to prevent such events in the future?

One of PERN’s key tasks is to ensure the continuity and security of crude oil transmission.  Breakdowns are part and parcel of every industrial process. This is why PERN has taken a number of measures across many areas to minimize risks and limit the negative impact of such events, while paying special attention to the environment. One of our priorities is to constantly improve the security of the company’s infrastructure, fire prevention and technological processes. This also encompasses concept work and implementation of new methods and security systems that prevent such events.