Energy SECURITY 9 August, 2023 8:00 am   
COMMENTS: Joanna Słowińska

German politician accuses Poland of a conspiracy and blasts a PERN investment

PCK_Gelaende_Vogelperspektive Refinery in Schwedt / Picture by PCK Raffinerie GmbH

A Brandenburg politician from die Linke, Christian Görke believes that Orlen, behind which the Polish state is supposed to stand, makes Germany dependent on oil from Gdańsk in order to then cut off the Schwedt refinery from supplies from Kazakhstan. He also blasts the project of the second strand of the Pomerania Oil Pipeline.

The argument of the former Finance Minister of Brandenburg, and now a member of the Bundestag from the Left Party, is based on the premise that the Polish side is currently building the second line of the Pomeranian Oil Pipeline in order to cut off oil supplies from Kazakhstan to the German refinery in Schwedt (PCK). PERN, and thus the Polish state, do not, in the opinion of this politician, invest in increasing the company’s processing power for charitable reasons. This, combined with Orlen’s interest in acquiring the Schwedt refinery, creates new dependencies. Orlen is 49.9% owned by the Polish state, the remaining shares belong to a Dutch fund and other owners.

“If Orlen becomes the majority shareholder of PCK and the Pomeranian Oil Pipeline is completed, there will be no more interest in oil from Kazakhstan,” Görke told the local Nordkurier newspaper.

In the winter of 2022 Görke went to Kazakhstan to get oil from there to the Schwedt refinery, as as of the 1st of January Germany dropped Russian oil that completely covered the refinery’s demand.  In June, Germany signed a contract for the supply of 1.3 million tons of oil from Kazakhstan to Schwedt supplied via the Friendship Oil Pipeline that starts in Russia. Polish and German experts believe that it is technically Russian oil, despite the fact that Germany is transferring money for it to Kazakhstan. The charges for the transfer are settled between Kazkhstan and Russia.

So Germany does not pay directly to the Russian budget, but they pay the Kazakhs, and they pay for the shipment in Russia. In addition, Kazakh supplies through Friendship were excluded from EU sanctions on the northern thread of the pipeline, as negotiated by Poland and Germany. Hannes Gnauck from the right-wing populist party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), like his colleague from Die Linke, argues against Orlen and any Polish involvement in the context of the Schwedt refinery. According to him, Poland is blackmailing Germany with oil supplies to Schwedt.

The fact is, however, that the Poles demand from the Germans the derusification of the Schwedt refinery by expelling Rosneft Deutschland. The Russian company is currently under the trusteeship of Bundesnetzagentur, which is managed by the German government. Poles fear that Germany will return to Russian oil after the war in Ukraine is over. The trusteeship  may be renewed or replaced by the acquisition of assets in September 2023. On the other hand derusification of Schwedt would increase the profitability of the Pomeranian Oil Pipeline waiting for the final investment decision, as we wrote in

Nordkurier / Aleksandra Fedorska / Wojciech Jakóbik