Poland is becoming less dependent on Russian oil

Poland is becoming less dependent on Russian oil Yuri Smityuk/PAP/EPA

Last year, the share of Russian oil in oil imports to Poland dipped below 80% for the first time, according to the Ministry of Energy. 

Of the 24.6 million tonnes of oil imported by Poland that year, 19.6 million tonnes came from Russia – 79.9% of the total. The country remains the largest supplier of oil to Poland but, as the ministry’s data shows, its share has been falling since 2015. 

 The decline is part of Poland’s push to reduce its dependence on Russian commodities by diversifying supplies of oil and gas. 

The country is increasingly looking to Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil producer. In 2016, Polish oil refiner PKN Orlen signed a long-term supply contract with Saudi Aramco, one of the top global oil producers. 

In April, the companies signed an appendix increasing the volume of Saudi oil imports by 50%, to 300,000 tonnes a month. They are now discussing closer cooperation, the Polish company announced. 

"Saudi Aramco is our important business partner. Cooperation with the company fits our strategic goals of diversifying the direction of supplies and increasing the country’s energy security,” said Daniel Obajtek, CEO of PKN Orlen.

As dependence on Russian oil falls, Poland may find itself paying more for oil. According to the National Bank of Poland, the average price of Russian oil imported by Poland is lower than the average price of oil from other countries. 

For example, in December 2017, the average price of barrel of Russian oil was $59.7, compared to $65.6 for oil from the United States.

Only oil from Iraq was somewhat cheaper than Russian oil. “A change in the structure of oil supplies meant that the increase in the price of oil imported to Poland in 2017 was somewhat higher than that resulting solely from the increase in the market price,” the NBP noted.