Energy 9 June, 2023 7:35 am   
COMMENTS: Joanna Słowińska

Skowron: PERN will update the strategy on developing oil infrastructure in Poland (INTERVIEW)

Miroslaw-Skowron-PERN Mirosław Skowron. Picture by PERN.

“We will work on updating PERN’s strategy so that we can effectively respond to changes in the energy market in the coming years,” reveals PERN CEO Mirosław Skowron in an interview with The energy crisis is still here, but Poland had experienced a different one before. The contaminated oil issue had revealed the country may have to face problems with fossil fuel deliveries from Russia. What lessons did PERN learn from that experience?

Mirosław Skowron: In recent years, there has been a lot of activity in the area of investments that PERN has implemented and is implementing. They allowed our customers to fully diversify their oil supplies to Poland. Today, we buy oil and fuel supplies from many countries in the world, and our refineries, thanks to the full use of the Pomeranian pipeline, are fully secured. In addition to this investment, we have started to apply an innovative solution that allows us to increase the efficiency of this pipe. We tested and purchased a special DRA (drag reducing agent), which reduces drag and thanks to it we can pump more raw material.

PERN has worked hard in recent years. In the period 2016 -2022, it invested about PLN 2.8 billion. At the moment, we have 19 fuel bases with a capacity of 2.4 million cubic meters, four oil bases with a capacity of more than 4.1 million cubic meters, another 256,000 tcm will be added by the end of the  year. As for fuel capacity, it has recently been increased by 0.6 million cubic meters.

The next steps are the expansion of the naftoport – we are working on the sixth station, which will be able to handle ships with a cargo of up to 160 thousand  tons.

It can be said that we have fully “learned our lesson” during the chlorine crisis.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine started with, among others, spreading disinformation about fuel shortages. Do these investments allow Poles to sleep soundly when it comes to the security of oil and fuel supplies?

We’re safe. We are constantly monitoring how the market is doing and how it will grow. Much depends on the level of consumption, which determines the development of the economy. If there is progress, then, of course, it will be necessary to increase the transmission capacity. PERN is working on it. It’s part of our strategy, which includes a number of steps that we will take by 2024 and beyond. We will work to update PERN’s strategy over the longer term so that we can effectively respond to the market challenges in the coming years.

When will PERN’s new strategy be revealed?

We’re working on it all the time. I have been involved in this process since the first of May, i.e. since I started working as the company president.

The Pomeranian oil pipeline and its second line is one of the ways the direction of supplies will develop. Can we expect any new information on this?

We are preparing this project and we already have all the construction permits and we are carrying out a number of necessary activities prior to implementation. This project is included in our strategy as one of many projects to increase strategic security. So we need to look at it as one of the key elements that will work in combination with the entire system solution. We also need to monitor the cost-effectiveness of this project and work with partners to obtain funding for both the construction and operation of the pipeline, as this will be a very large investment.

Currently, the naftoport serves not only the Polish market, but also Central and Eastern Europe, including Germany. What do the port usage data suggest when it comes to future investments? Will they be needed?

Market forecasts show that there is such a need. That is why we are currently expanding the naftoport. It will be fully utilised in terms of transhipment capacity. The history of this place shows that investments of this kind should provide a stable level of security, regardless of market volatility. Changes in the external environment and the approach to transformation that Poland has taken in recent years mean that there is still a need to increase its potential.

What are we going to do about the Friendship Pipeline? Our section will probably dry up. Can we use it differently?

We are looking for solutions and working on ideas. There are several options that we are analyzing. Much will depend on the decisions of our European partners, including the scope of sanctions and the direction of oil logistics. This will be an important part of the PERN strategy.

Interview by Wojciech Jakóbik