The Warsaw Institute Review and Warsaw Institute participated in the Thinking: Poland Convention held in Katowice, July 5-7, 2019, where politicians and experts discussed the activities conducted by the government and contemplated proposals for the future. Over 10,000 participants gathered at the event, who over the course of 16 plenary sessions and nearly 70 thematically-orientated panels, had abundant opportunities to listen to and engage with about 400 panelist speakers. The Warsaw Institute team and editorial staff of the Warsaw Institute Review quarterly avidly participated in the substantive expert discussion, having prepared and led two specialist panels pertaining to international affairs and energy.
Worth noting, this convention was organized in a format which resembles that of large political party conventions in Western Europe (and particularly closely to those in the United Kingdom), where, in accompaniment to distinguished politicians and public figures who have very real and paramount influence on formulating and shaping state policies, experts also contribute and take part. As a result of such initiatives, the perspectives, voices and analyses of experts – with the assemblage of think tanks – is more clearly heard and thereby facilitates the genuine inclusion of this environment in the formulation of public policies. This event presented superb opportunities and formal platforms to present the analytically-orientated accomplishments of the Warsaw Institute and the latest issue of the English-language quarterly, The Warsaw Institute Review.
Specialist panel: Geopolitics of Energy
Swiftly following on from the concluding points of the first specialist panel, the second part of the specialist panel “Geopolitics of Energy”, organized by the Warsaw Institute, presented strategies to counteract the dependence on the supply of natural gas and crude oil, used for the purposes of economic independence of the Polish economy. The discussion was moderated by Izabela Wojtyczka (Vice President of the Warsaw Institute and Editor-in-Chief of The Warsaw Institute Review). The panel was attended by: Minister Piotr Naimski (Member of the Polish Parliament, Government Plenipotentiary for strategic energy infrastructure); Janusz Kowalski (former Vice President of the Management Board of PGNiG SA, member of the Energy Security Team at the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland Lech Kaczyński); Dr. Krzysztof Księżopolski ( Warsaw School of Economics); Igor Wasilewski (President of the Management Board of PERN SA); and Krzysztof Rogala (the Second Vice-President of the Management Board of Europolgaz SA).
The panel opened with a lecture titled ‘Geopolitics of the Energy Mix’ presented by Minister Piotr Naimski. In striving for our country’s decision-making sovereignty in energy issues, the Minister accentuated that Poland has two geopolitical strategic goals. Firstly, it is to relieve itself from Russia as a supplier of energy resources and secondly, ergo, to cleverly position Poland within the European and global structures, in such a way that would enable Poland to genuinely be a full member within these, in order to correspondingly implement Polish interests to full extents. He elaborated on how we should participate in fashioning new trends, take part in those savvy investments that provide the possibility of quick access to new technologies, such as hydrogen storage. Access to these sources of knowledge and technology is as important in the future as access to raw materials and natural resources. Therein, the Minister moreover added that the Polish-American energy dialogue is developing remarkably well in practice.
Following on from this, Janusz Kowalski was next to present his expert input, which was titled ‘Natural gas – cases of dependence and cases of supply dependence relief’. He elaborated on how the Polish state began to operate more effectively in the area of energy infrastructure. Kowalski underscored the vital meaning of the Northern Gate, which consists of the ‘President of the Republic of Poland Lech Kaczyński LNG terminal in Świnoujście’ and the project of the ‘Northern Corridor’, establishing a gas connection between Poland, Denmark and Norway by means of extending the existing infrastructure as well as adjacently constructing a new gas pipeline, the ‘Baltic Pipe’. The Polish Government, he noted, is responsible for the diversification of gas supplies. Unambiguously in context of the impending end of the Yamal contract, implementing bold and needed investment projects is necessary in securing the interests of Polish citizens for generations. Moreover, he illustrated how diversification of the state-owned gas giant’s portfolio – PGNiG S.A. – for products related to LNG or the expansion of business activities in new segments will bring in effect measurable, tangible profits for the economy in its entirety, rather than isolated effects.
Following this, the presentation titled ‘Geopolitical importance of oil pipelines and the Gdańsk Naftoport’ was delivered by Igor Wasilewski. He ensured the audience was familiarized with the situation regarding contaminated oil from Russia and the relevant test for oil companies in Poland. In the second half of June of 2019, over 1 million tons of organic chlorine came from Russia and into the Polish transmission system via the Druzhba pipeline, contaminating the inflow. On April 24, 2019, at the request of clients, PERN S.A. stopped inflow from the pipeline from Russia. The resumption of part-time flow took place only on June 9, i.e. after 46 days. Here, a sample inflow after blending went into processing for inspection. It was swiftly revealed that the system still has about 6 percent pollution, and complete removal of the pollutant contamination may take several months. At the time, PERN S.A. has been serving refineries on a regular basis, transferring oil flow from inventories and delivered by sea through the Gdańsk oil port. He stressed that the situation was maintained so that customers at petrol stations would not be affected by this situation. Today, refiners are processing raw materials not only from Russia, but also from many other parts of the world – from Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern states, from USA, Canada, Nigeria, Angola, Kazakhstan and North Sea submarine deposits as well as native deposits – from the Baltic Sea. Naftoport is the only sea terminal for trans-shipment of crude oil in Poland and the largest domestic terminal for reloading refined product. The company’s potential enables the trans-shipment of 36 million tons of oil and 4 million tons of petroleum product annually, providing the opportunity to fully cover the needs of refineries connected to the pipeline system of a company operating oil pipelines and warehouses. With this, Igor Wasilewski illuminated the picture of how the diversification and development of infrastructure is the key to security, and thus PERN implements, inter alia, investments such as the Boronów–Trzebinia pipeline, the second stage of construction of fuel tanks, or the second arm of the Pomeranian pipeline.
from these, the fourth lecture was concerned with ‘the impact of the diversification of natural gas supplies and new
technologies of electricity generation on the “geopolitics of energy”
and economic security of Poland’, authored by Dr. Krzysztof Księżopolski.
He pointed out that in terms of energy geopolitics, one should highlight the
following problems: lack of sufficient and own resources of oil and gas; the use
of hydrocarbons as a political and economic tool for Russia’s influence on
Poland; increasing pressure from the European Union, including so from its strongest
countries (Germany and France) as well as global regulations on the power
sector; high volatility of oil and gas prices on global markets; as well as
institutional, cultural and analytical weaknesses, including effects from disinformation.
In his opinion, the strategic goal of Poland should be: independence from gas
and oil supplies and development of new technologies, such as: renewable energy
sources, electromobility and energy storage methods. According to Księżopolski,
the focus should be on medium-term effects, that is, limiting the price and
political pressure on Poland and increasing the importance of our country in
the region and in consequence for the long-term i.e. stable sustainable
economic growth, independent of price volatility, and offering products and
services with high added value, reducing the importance of Russia by being
concerned with key export goods, namely oil and gas. In summarizing up the
lecture, he stated that it is necessary to develop new energy technologies,
such as renewable energy and energy storage, which will be used for the needs
of its own economy and will become an export commodity that strengthens the competitiveness
of our economy. Energy policy can and ought to make use of technological
advantages. The diversification of oil and gas supplies is crucial in the
context of Russia’s aggressive policy and in providing opportunities i.e. this
is a strategic maneuver. Citizens expect that they will produce electricity
themselves, using available technologies, which is a challenge for energy,
innovation, economic and fiscal policy.
Finally, the subject of Krzysztof Rogala‘s expert input was ‘Low-emission sources of electricity in EU regulations’, in which he covered aspects related to the notions of the low- and zero-emission economy. According to the speaker, the objectives of the climate policy (COP, IPCC, EU) should be divided into three time horizons: 2030, 2050 and 2100. Primarily, under the climate and energy policy up to 2030, the European Union pursues three main goals: for there to be a reduction of at least 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions relative to 1990 levels, for the ensuring of at least a 27 percent share of energy from renewable sources in total energy consumption, and increase energy efficiency by at least a likewise 27 percent. It should be noted that pursuant to the ‘Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community’, Art. 1 states that ‘It shall be the task of the Community to contribute to the raising of the standard of living in the Member States and to the development of relations with the other countries by creating the conditions necessary for the speedy establishment and growth of nuclear industries’.
Also, ‘European Parliament resolution of 15 December 2015 on Towards a European Energy Union (2015/2113(INI))’ states that nuclear energy makes an extremely important contribution to the European energy system, causing lower CO2, while reducing dependence on imports, ensuring stable electricity production, which can be used on the internal market and create a stable basis for the energy system in which it is possible to gradually introduce energy from renewable sources. In fact, the current support mechanisms (investment support for research projects) are hardly or not at all directed at supporting the development of electricity generation from low-emission sources other than renewable energy sources (RES). Additionally, emission allowances do not have the effect of stimulating the construction of low-emission sources other than renewable energy, due to the capital requirements of the former. Summing up his speech, Rogala pointed out that it is difficult to expect that with such a structure and support instruments for low-emission energy other than renewable energy, it will develop in the coming years and support achieving the long-term strategic vision of a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate-neutral economy.
During the event, we had the opportunity to present the activities of our institution to many politicians and experts, as well as to familiarize them with our unique publication about the late President of the Republic of Poland Lech Kaczyński (Lech Kaczyński, President of the Supreme Audit Office in 1992-1995)
We invite you to view our gallery from the event.
Special Report: ”The European Union facing contemporary challenges” discussion panel during Thinking: Poland Convention
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