Energy Nuclear 18 April, 2023 7:35 am   
Editorial staff

Polish Briefing: PERN’s epic numbers I Orlen gets US funding for SMRs and reveals plans


PERN has recorded highest-ever transshipment levels at its fuel and oil terminals after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The demand on the market is so great that thanks to new investments, ocean tankers will begin to arrive to Gdańsk.

The PERN fuel terminal in Dębogórze collected 50 percent more fuel in the first quarter of 2023 than in the same period last year. The fuel base in Dębogorz received 24 tankers (up by 50 percent). PERN has also reported an increase in the use of railways for the supply of oil and fuel, so the company wants to invest in modernizing the tracks and railway oil tank filling stations. It wants to build a fourth loading bay at the filling station. Cooperation with the port of Gdynia will allow it to deepen the waterway to handle larger tankers (up to 100,000 tons of cargo), and increase rail access to the port of Gdynia and the base in Dębogórze, allowing for larger deliveries inland.

The naftoport transshipped 8.7 million tons of oil and fuels, an increase of 60 percent. The facility also welcomed 30 percent more tankers than in the first quarter of 2023. It handled 110 ships of this type.

“When we talk about our oil transshipment capabilities, it is impossible not to mention the role of our raw material base in Gdańsk and the oil terminal there, along with the Pomerania pipeline pump stations in Pelplin, Łasin and Rypin. These facilities allow flexible collection of fossil fuels from tankers through the naftoport. Thanks to investments, which have been done in recent years, we have about 2 million cubic meters of capacity by the Baltic Sea,” said Paweł Stańczyk, president of PERN.

In the first quarter PERN signed a contract for adding a sixth oil and oil products transshipment station big enough to handle VLCC class ocean tankers. “The main objective of the investment is to strengthen the operational continuity and full availability of the naftoport for the reported supplies of raw materials,” explained PERN.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, led to Western sanctions and plans by Western companies to abandon oil and fuel supplies from Russia. The Poles no longer import Russian fossil fuels, but their oil pipelines are used to supply the fuel to the entire region, including to Ukraine, which is preparing for a counteroffensive.

PERN / Wojciech Jakóbik

Synthos Orlen will receive support from the US

GE Hitachi and Synthos Orlen Green Energy want to accelerate the development of small modular reactors in Poland. They signed a letter of intent on joint investments and implementation of Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technology in Poland. They will invest USD 400 million in the GEH BWRX-300 reactor project.

Financial support will also be provided by the American EXIM Bank and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). Both institutions are engaged in the development and expansion of American technologies in the country and across the world. The EXIM Bank will allocate USD 3 billion to the entire project, and DFC will ”add” USD 1 billion to the construction of the first two power plants with BWRX-300 reactors. PKO Bank Polski, Pekao, BGK and Santander Bank Polska expressed their willingness to participate in the project.

Financing is one element of OSGE’s strategy to build a fleet of small reactors. On March 23, 2023, an agreement was signed in Washington, D.C., to co-finance the development of the BWRX-300 reactor designed by Hitachi. The document is intended to allow the project to meet the requirements of European and Polish safety standards, and as a result, faster construction of the first small reactor in Poland.

Jędrzej Stachura

Orlen wants to build a small atom in Warsaw, Krakow and over twenty other places

Orlen, along with Synthos and GE Hitachi, wants to build BWRX-300 reactors in Warsaw, Kraków and over twenty other locations in Poland.

“Our reactor will be the second ever built. The first will be in Canada, in Darlington. The next reactor will be built in Poland at the turn of 2028 and 2029,” said Daniel Obajtek, CEO of Orlen. “These reactors are small. They can be copied, can be mass-produced. It definitely speeds up the investment process,” he explained. Obajtek recalled that on April 17, the US EXIMBANK and DFC signed a letter of intent to support the construction of the SMR fleet “in Poland and beyond” with USD 4 billion.

“These reactors have a passive safety system that extinguishes the reactor within seven days,” Obajtek explained when commenting on the reactors being located close to buildings.

He also presented potential SMR locations in Poland ahead of social dialogue and geological research. These are Włocławek, Stawy Monowskie, Ostrołęka, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Kraków-Nowa Huta, as well as the Tarnobrzeg Special Economic Zone, which includes Tarnobrzeg and Stalowa Wola. “We call it the green wall of energy,” the CEO announced.

Wojciech Jakóbik