PKN Orlen's Lithuanian shipments to Ukraine to bypass Belarus

Leszek Szymański/PAP

Dominant Polish fuels group PKN Orlen says it will transport oil products from its Lithuanian refinery to Ukraine via Poland if Belarus blocks rail transit.

Orlen said in a statement on Wednesday that due to information on the Belarus's planned closure of its border with Lithuania for rail transport, products from the Orlen-owned Mazeikiu refinery will be transported to Ukraine via an alternative route.

"This is possible thanks to consistent investments by PKN Orlen aimed at increasing and diversifying logistic possibilities, including ensuring the stability of deliveries to customers. This was precisely the purpose of the purchase by Orlen Lietuva (Lithuanian subsidiary of PKN Orlen - PAP) of 100 percent of shares in the Lithuanian company Mockavos Terminalas. The current situation on our eastern border shows that when making business decisions, one must also take into account the security of the entire region. Fuel supplies to Ukraine are secured," Orlen President Daniel Obajtek said.

Orlen Lietuva, by purchasing the Lithuanian company Mockavos Terminalas, took control of the only railway trans-shipment terminal on the Polish-Lithuanian border, at Mockava. It is used for the trans-shipment of products manufactured at the Mazeikiu refinery, which later go to the Polish and Ukrainian markets.

"Thanks to this decision, taken in advance by Daniel Obajtek, president of the management board of PKN Orlen, today's announcements about the potential suspension of the transport of goods on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border will have a neutral impact on Orlen Group operations," a company statement read.

On Wednesday, the press spokesman of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anatoly Glaz, announced that a decision had been made to ban rail transport from Lithuania for certain goods. This is Minsk's response to Vilnius's ban on the transit of Belarusian potassium fertilisers.

In January, Lithuanian railways informed Belaruskalij, a producer of potassium fertilisers, that transit would be suspended from February 1. Earlier, the government in Vilnius recognised the carrier's contract with the Belarusian company as a "threat to national security". Belaruskalij is included on the list of Belarusian enterprises subject to US sanctions.