Polish Gas Utility Braces for Deregulation
By Marynia Kruk
Like some large consumers of natural gas in Poland, a few weeks ago refiner PKN Orlen SA PKN.WA +1.10% said it had signed short-term contracts to buy natural gas from five international or outside suppliers, or in other words, experimenting with ways to reduce its reliance on Poland’s gas monopoly and the mostly Russian gas it sells.
PKN Orlen didn’t specify how much gas it would buy from the suppliers, which it identified as ENOI SpA, Shell Energy Europe Limited, Egesa Grupa Energetyczna SA, Vattenfall Energy Trading GmbH and Mercuria Energy Trading.
But Chief Executive Jacek Krawiec said that “due to our rising gas fuel consumption and favorable regulatory conditions, new suppliers can provide PKN Orlen with as much as 35% of its total natural gas needs.”
How likely PKN is to hit that 35% level remains to be seen.
“PGNiG is the leader on the Polish gas market,” the company said in an email. “We’re taking actions to maintain this position and meet the strong competition that will emerge from liberalization.”
Like nearly all businesses and households in Poland, the company relies on the state-controlled utility PGNiG SA PGN.WA +2.57% for most of its gas supplies, sold at prices set by the energy regulator. If everything goes as planned, the country will this summer finally move to market-determined gas prices for its biggest gas-consuming companies.
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