PGNiG completes construction of two new gas wells

PGNiG oil &  gas refinery in Poland
PGNiG oil & gas refinery in Poland
With the recent cold winter and the increasing reduction in the importance of coal as a source of energy in Poland’s energy mix, the demand for gas has risen – as have gas prices. This is the context for PGNiG completing the drilling of two new gas wells at its Brońśko field in western Poland.

The following news items appeared in PT Weekly, Poland Today’s weekly business newsletter, on Friday 9 July – free to register here

PGNiG completes construction of two new gas wells at Brońsko facility

Polish state-controlled oil & gas giant Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo – PGNiG – has completed the drilling of two production boreholes in the Brońsko field in Wielkopolska voivodeship, according to an article in Business Insider. The boreholes will allow the extraction of an additional 120 million cubic metres of gas annually, an increase of about 13%, PGNiG reported in a press release.

“Brońsko is the second largest natural gas field in Poland. Its resources have been extracted for a relatively short time, therefore it still has a large production potential. This is demonstrated, among other things, by the two recently drilled wells, thanks to which we will increase production from the deposit by over 10% ” said Robert Perkowski, Vice President of Operations, quoted in the press release.

WSE-listed PGNiG’s Brońsko-31H and Brońsko-32 wells are located in the Śmigiel commune, in the Kościan district. The latest of the 21 production wells will be connected to the Kościan-Brońsko Natural Gas Mine installation, which was included in the Smart Field project announced in June. It assumes the use of IT solutions – including artificial intelligence and cloud computing – to increase the efficiency of exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons.

The Brońsko natural gas field was discovered in September 1998, with production beginning in March 2001. The recoverable reserves of the deposit were estimated at 26.7 billion cubic metres of natural gas. So far, over 12 billion cubic metres of gas have been extracted, 895 million cubic metres of these last year.

Meanwhile, as reported by Bloomberg, natural gas prices in Europe have risen to their highest level since 2008 due mainly to the recent cold winter reducing stocks. This, coupled with the shift away from coal in the power industry, has seen demand grow.

9 July Minister_1920_1080
The Dutch Minister for the Environment, Stientje van Veldhoven, one of the main drivers of sustainable development in the EU, speaking to Richard Stephens, editor of Poland Today, at the recent Dutch-Polish Seminar on Circular Economy. The Minister said that she sees circular economy initiatives as the ‘secret weapon’ in the fight against climate change.

Circular Economy a secret weapon to combat climate change, says Dutch Minister for the Environment

While praising Poland’s entrepreneurial spirit, strong economic development and significant growth potential, as well as stating that the country is “catching up fast” in terms of achieving better levels of sustainability, the Netherlands’ Minister for the Environment, Stientje van Veldhoven, said that the circular economy is still viewed in Poland in an environmental context rather than in an economic one, as it should be. “We have to be realistic,” she said: “Circular economy is still primarily seen as an environmental issue in Poland and not a top priority for the government.”

The interview, conducted by Poland Today editor Richard Stephens, took place during the Dutch-Polish Seminar on Circular Economy organized by the Dutch Embassy in Poland, the Dutch Ministry for the Environment and INNOWO, the Institute of Innovation and Responsible Development. The minister said that it was positive, however, that the Polish government had recently adopted a ‘Roadmap towards Circular Economy.’ “Poles were not able to enjoy the benefits of economic growth for decades after the Second World War, so I perfectly understand the perception that a circular economy should not get in the way of that growth,” stated Minister van Veldhoven. “But Polish entrepreneurs will see the economic logic of circularity. The commercial incentives of closing the loop are real: prices of raw materials and energy are going up, stricter and binding regulations are coming from Brussels, preferences of Polish consumers are changing.

I’m an optimist, so the fact that Poland has a long way to go before reaching full circularity means that there is a lot of low hanging fruit that can be harvested. I would therefore advise everyone to have a look at the report on “circular business opportunities in Poland” that the Polish Circular Hotspot and our embassy published last month.”

Putting the issue in context, Mrs van Veldhoven said: “I consider the circular economy as our ‘secret weapon’ to counter climate change. A growing body of research confirms that enhanced resource efficiency could reduce annual global greenhouse gas emissions by about 20% in 2050. This illustrates the enormous potential of the circular economy to contribute to countering climate change: we’re talking about around half of total global greenhouse gas emissions that come from the extraction and processing of materials. And currently only 8.6% of the global economy is circular. At the same time,” she stated, “the system change in the economy can help solve the other two big challenges we have with Mother Earth: combat biodiversity loss and pollution. And there is another – very pragmatic – reason to go circular: we’re running out of primary resources. So: becoming circular is also business wise. Producers, retailers and consumers can reduce costs preventing wastage and securing the supply of raw materials. With the reuse, repair, refurbishment and recycling of products and packaging you can also create new business and jobs.”


New record for foreigners registered with ZUS social security agency

The number of foreigners covered by ZUS contributions increased by almost 17,000 in May to reach 797,000, a record figure – according to Polish business & economic daily Rzeczpospolita. The largest group of foreigners in the ZUS registry (mostly made up of employees) are Ukrainians, whose number reached 586,600, an increase of c. 12,000 m/m. Compared to pre-pandemic times, the number of foreigners insured increased by 127,000, said ZUS.

According to sister company Gremi Personal employment agency (Rzeczpospolita is owned by Gremi Media), which focuses on Ukrainian workers, the difficult economic and political situation in countries beyond the eastern border, the relatively stable situation in Poland, as well as the guarantee of understandable rules for foreigners’ stay compared to other EU countries, have all contributed to the increased influx of workers from the East. Tomas Bogdavic, CEO of Gremi Persona, says that surveys of Ukrainian employees show that the majority (68.3%) say that they are satisfied with their work in Poland, its three main advantages being: the high level of remuneration compared to Ukraine, the stable economic situation in Poland and the fact that it’s easier to obtain a work visa or a temporary residence permit than in other EU countries.

The percentage of Ukrainian entrepreneurs is also growing, by almost 40%. Many surveyed by Gremi are planning or already running their own business, and over half (55.5%) plan to bring families and buy real estate. “This indicates that current Ukrainian labour immigrants increasingly perceive Poland as a country of permanent residence,” claims Bogdevic.


Food prices rising higher in Poland than other EU countries

In May, the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by an average of 0.2% y/y in the European Union, while in Poland they rose by 1.5%, according to Eurostat data. Figures from Statistics Poland (GUS) in May showed that the average price level in Poland is growing the fastest since February 2020 – the last month before the pandemic. “Preliminary data for June should show that consumer inflation slightly decreased, but soaring food prices pose a risk that the reading will fall above forecasts”, said an economist from bank PKO BP. In a typical inflation basket used by GUS for calculating inflation, it is food and non-alcoholic beverages that “weigh” the most. The rise in food prices is hitting Poles’ wallets hard, says money(dot)pl, as food expenses constitute a large part of the monthly household budget in this country.

Poultry price rises are the most noticeable, increasing by 18% in a year. Prices for bread have risen on average 5.8% since a year ago, and non-alcoholic beverages have gone up by 7.2% on average. Economists forecast that more price rises lie ahead due to the high purchase prices of agricultural products.

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Written by: Richard Stephens