Energy 16 June, 2023 7:35 am   
COMMENTS: Joanna Słowińska

Polish Briefing: Poland is 5 million tons of diesel short I KGHM’s small reactor project I Orlen and Synthos inch towards an SMR near Oświęcim

Picture by Picture by

Orlen: 5 million tons of diesel is missing in Poland

“In Poland, there is a shortage of about 5 million tons of diesel and it needs to be imported,” said Marek Wocial from the PKN Orlen Wholesale Price Coordination Office. He added that too little fuel on world markets has caused prices to rise even as the price of oil falls.

Marek Wocial from the Wholesale Price Coordination Office at PKN Orlen assured that wholesale and retail prices in Poland are “consistently among the lowest in the EU”. “There were times when they were higher,” Wocial admitted. He explained that there may be such situations that the price of oil is unchanged or even falls, and fuel prices go up.

“Fuel prices in Poland are determined by the benchmark method, that is, they are not determined by the cost of oil, but by the cost of production,” he explained. He pointed out that the price of fuel depends on its quotations on the stock exchanges, and they changed more dynamically than oil prices.

He pointed out that the closure of refineries in Europe has led to the fact that although there is no shortage of oil itself, there is a shortage of fuel.

“If there isn’t enough of a product, but not due to missing oil, the quotes go up. This is subject to strict stock exchange regulations and is also associated with speculative activity, ” Wocial said. He also stressed that although gasoline prices on the stock exchanges “jumped” from USD 800 to USD 1,600 per ton, ” there has never been a 100 percent increase in fuel prices in the country over the past year.” He added that as for diesel, the situation was “very similar”.

“Consumption is being brought down. Economies are cooling down, fuel stocks are higher, cracks began to fall and this means that significant gains – in terms of oil refining – will probably not happen,” he stated.

He added that the situation on the markets is also improved by the fact that new refineries are being opened across the world, which in turn positively affects the amount of fuel available on the market.

Polish Press Agency / Jacek Perzyński

KGHM takes next step in small atom research

KGHM has signed a letter of intent with the Legnica Special Economic Zone (LSSE). The cooperation will include analysis of available SMR technologies, which the copper group wants to build in Poland.

KGHM has signed a letter of intent with the Legnica Special Economic Zone, with which it will cooperate on research and development projects and investment initiatives related to small nuclear reactor (SMR) technology.

“Our company has a modern approach to transformation and climate solutions. We are pursuing a climate policy that aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. We prove that small modular reactors are not only the future, but the most realistic answer to the energy needs of large industry. The cooperation with LSSE is another step in the implementation of our objectives,” said Tomasz Zdzikot, President of KGHM

“Affordable, safe, green and price-stabilized energy is our goal, which I believe can be achieved even faster in partnership with KGHM. It also strengthens the competitive advantage of our subregion as a place that offers good as well as stable investments, which is especially important for businesses. We have chosen the direction “new technologies” and consistently pursue it. The letter of intent, which we signed with an experienced partner, is one of the elements of the energy transformation of the LSSE,” added Przemysław Bożek, President of the Legnica Special Economic Zone.

Cooperation between KGHM and the Legnica Special Economic Zone will include analyses of available small nuclear reactor technologies and search for best practices in conducting research and measurements in order to examine the geological and geotechnical conditions of SMR locations. Joint actions will also be taken to support the development of SMRs in Poland, including changes in legislation related to public financing of such projects.

Legnica Special Economic Zone is a company that is engaged in attracting investors in the south-western Poland, in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship.

In 2022, KGHM signed a contract with NuScale Power, an American nuclear technology provider, to help implement small reactors in Poland. The US company has received certification for the 50 MW module from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In April this year, the Copper Group submitted an application to the Ministry of Climate and Environment for a decision-in-principle on the construction of a small modular nuclear power plant (SMR). It is currently waiting for the Climate Ministry to issue a general opinion on the selected conditions for the construction of a 462 MW power plant consisting of six modules, each with a capacity of 77 MW.

KGHM / Jędrzej Stachura

Orlen and Synthos call dibs on building a small reactor near Oświęcim

The Director General of Environmental Protection has initiated proceedings to issue an environmental decision for the construction of a BWRX-300 modular nuclear reactor near Oświęcim. This is one of the locations where Orlen and Synthos want to build a small reactor.

The Director General of Environmental Protection has replied to the proposal of Orlen Synthos Green Energy, a company that is to build small nuclear reactors (SMR) in Poland. The American BWRX-300 reactor from GE Hitachi will be evaluated by the General Directorate for Environmental Protection (GDOŚ) to issue a decision on environmental conditions for the construction and operation of a reactor in Stawy Monowskie, 10 km east of Oświęcim. The application, which GDOŚ is expected to verify within two months pertains to a 1300 MWe plant.

“Notification of the General Director of Environmental Protection of 15 June 2023 […] on informing the parties to the proceedings on the initiation at the request of the BWRX-300 Stawy Monowskie SP. z o. o. the procedure on issuing a decision on environmental conditions for a project consisting in: the construction and operation of a small modular nuclear power plant with a total capacity of up to 1300 MWe in the BWRX-300 technology in the location of Stawy Monowskie, the municipality of the city of Oświęcim,” GDOŚ wrote in a press release. BWRX-300 Stawy Monowskie is a limited liability company, registered on April 17, 2023.

Small reactors from GE Hitachi already have a green light in Poland in terms of security. In May 2023, the State Atomic Energy Agency (PAA) stated that the design of the BWRX-300 reactor is in compliance with nuclear safety requirements. PAA verified if the unit is protected against external and internal risks and if its control room, reactor core and power systems meet the requirements, among others.

Stawy Monowskie, a village located in the municipality of Oświęcim, is one of the locations where Orlen wants to build modular nuclear reactors. The company also identified such places as Włocławek, Ostrołęka, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Kraków-Nowa Huta, as well as the Tarnobrzeg Special Economic Zone, which includes Tarnobrzeg and Stalowa Wola. PKN Orlen has declared it would build the first SMR in 2028 or 2029.

Jędrzej Stachura