Energy 15 September, 2023 7:30 am   
COMMENTS: Mirosław Skowron

Skowron: Expansion of the Pomeranian Oil Pipeline is about security (INTERVIEW)


“Currently, there is still no final decision on the Pomeranian oil pipeline, but the project has received a construction permit,” says PERN President Mirosław Skowron in an interview with PERN and the Naftoport signed an agreement on infrastructure maintenance. What is it about?

Mirosław Skowron: The agreement between PERN and the Naftoport concerns repairs and possible breakdowns. The point is that thanks to the contract, PERN’s technical services will maintain parts of the installation of the Naftoport terminal. We have several benefits in one deal. We ensure maximum plant safety thanks to PERN’s technical services and give more space to the Naftoport so that it can focus more on its key operations, i.e. oil and fuel transshipment.

Given the amount of transshipments this year, it is especially important to avoid any delays of deliveries. Today, the biggest challenge is “operational excellence” and this will allow us to optimize the activities of the Naftoport, our depots and, as a result, will satisfy all oil customers.

The Naftoport records huge volumes of oil supplies. Could you give specific numbers?

In the first half of the year, we transhipped 18 million tons of oil and fuels. We estimate that in the second half of this year these figures will be similar, so today we are operating at the maximum capacity of the Naftoport. This year, we have had over 30 percent more tankers than last. Importantly, all the oil that powers our refineries comes from offshore supplies and the northern part of the PERN pipeline system.

The oil is also delivered to refineries in other countries. Will the supply to our neighbors increase?

Deliveries to Polish refineries are a priority, and we work with other countries in accordance with individual agreements and depending on our transmission capacities.
We know the transshipment capabilities of the Naftoport and the northern section, and this infrastructure increases capacity by more than 30 percent. This means that if we have a surplus of oil, we will be able to send it to the West.

There are reports in the German media that Germany may not want a second line of the Pomeranian Oil Pipeline in Poland. How does PERN see it?

For us, this is a matter of security of supply. In addition, we need to keep in mind the costs associated with the construction of the second thread. Currently, we have not yet made a final decision on the Pomeranian Oil Pipeline, but the project has already received a construction permit. This is a large investment that will only enter the implementation phase when all the business details are finalized.

The Naftoport is a window to the world for Poland and our neighbors. How do you manage the intense influx of tankers?

The Naftoport is doing very well. So far, we haven’t seen any accidents or downtime. On our end, there are no obstacles to the proper functioning of the Naftoport. The company now faces a key challenge, which is the expansion of the terminal with a sixth station. This will improve the operational safety of the facility, but will also allow for an increase in supply volumes – if this is the market demand.

What is the potential of cooperation with German refineries and in the east, for example, with Ukraine?

We do not have an oil pipeline to Ukraine, so we deliver our oil to refineries in Płock and Gdańsk, but we are also open to cooperation with the Ukrainian side.

How does PERN look at the potential possibility of building a fuel pipeline to Ukraine?

When such a project actually comes up, we will carefully analyze it. PERN is a logistics company and has experience in this sector, so this task is feasible for us.

Is it possible that the oil market will have to face the same situation as the gas market? Will there be one dominant customer who will use the Naftoport, or will access be wider?

At the moment, access is free and I do not see such a risk. We care about security and business.

Currently, 100 percent of oil supplies to Poland come from the Naftoport. What will be the future of the Friendship Oil Pipeline?

In our depots we have accumulated mandatory reserves, so from a security perspective we will maintain this infrastructure, but the future will show what will be the fate of the Friendship Oil Pipeline. Currently, sanctions imposed on Russia are in place, and PERN will adhere to them.

What about the oil from Kazakhstan reaching Germany?

We do not comment on our clients’ business relationships. We are a logistics company and the oil we transport is not our property.

Interview by Wojciech Jakóbik