Former Polish Prime Minister and leader of the opposition Civic Platform party, Donald Tusk, is calling for the Polish government not to sell off Grupa Lotos gas stations, a move which would collapse a major energy deal vital to weaning Poland off Russian energy.
The deal would see a newly merged company that would gain access to Central European markets in return for the Hungarian MOL state-owned oil company obtaining a minority stake in the company and gaining permission to open its own gas stations in Poland.
The merge, which has been approved by the European Commission, would see Hungarian oil group acquire 400 Lotos gas stations. If Poland were to keep these gas stations, it would breach the commission’s condition for the merger, and it would not take place. If that were to happen, Poland would remain dependent on Russian oil, as the part of the deal which involves the participation of Saudi Aramco was to bring 20 million tons of oil, half of Poland’s annual demand, into Poland.
It is worth noting that at the end of 2021, Russian oil accounted for 63 percent of Polish oil consumption. That is why a Saudi Arabian oil substitute represents a fundamental shift for the Polish oil market, representing a change which no government has managed since Poland became dependent on Russian energy following World War II.
In addition, the new oil source would also cover the Możejki refinery in Lithuania, thereby making Baltic states immune from energy blackmail and providing alternative sources of oil supply for Slovakia, Hungary, parts of Ukraine, and even Belarus.
The merger is clearly in Poland’s interests. However, this does not seem to be enough for Donald Tusk. He is trying to stop the merge and the move away from Russian oil.
At least he is being consistent.
When he was in power, he backed a long-term gas deal with Gazprom, attempted to sell Lotos to Russian interests and talked about selling the Możejki refinery to Rosneft.
Today, the leader of Poland’s opposition is still proposing the same pro-Russian vision of Polish dependence on Russia.