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POLAND: PKN Orlen announces major investment

PKN Orlen, the largest Polish oil refiner, has announced this week that it is going to invest PLN 8.3 billion until 2023 into its refinery and petrochemical segment. Orlen CEO Daniel Obajtek announced that the company’s strategic plans include developing it petroleum sector, carrying out the merger with the Lotos Group, and starting work on offshore wind projects in the Baltic. This decision comes only a few weeks after Prime Minister Morawiecki took over control of the state-owned refiners from Energy Minister Tchórzewski (see Wednesday’s CEC Daily update).

Experts are already arguing that the decision is supposed to be Orlen’s escape from any possibility of the company entering the nuclear power plant project. The big investment is supposed to deplete available funds to such a point that it would become unfeasible for Orlen to pitch into the nuclear project in the next few years. Orlen argues that the Polish petrochemical sector will grow by 30% by the time this investment plan is over, and Poland will become an exporter of petrochemicals rather than an importer. Opposition politicians from the PO have criticized the decision, calling it political and arguing that Orlen should expand abroad rather than make grand investments into its installations.