The government is preparing a massive cash injection for PGNiG
The bill provides for assistance in the form of a multi-billion dollar stream of money between the state and PGNiG. According to the assumptions, it is to be directed in two ways. Firstly, the Government of Strategic Reserves (formerly the Material Reserves Agency) may buy gas from PGNiG (the act does not mention the state-owned company directly, but the provisions are unambiguous). The agency will have around PLN 6 billion for this purpose in 2022 – informs the portal Wysokienapiecie.pl.
He will receive the second injection in the form of compensations related to the freezing of gas priceswhich are to ensure lower prices for retail customers. All gas supply companies can benefit from these solutions.
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Under warranty PGNiG may receive up to PLN 20bn in a loan – lists the website Wysokienapiecie.pl – which can be used, for example, for the purchase of LNG gas. A loan and bonds for this purpose are also to be guaranteed by the State Treasury.
Unauthorized state aid for PGNiG?
Provisions on state aid may raise doubts as to their compliance with EU regulations, because if, in the case of compensation for freezing gas prices, other entities may use them, yes According to experts, lending and provisions regarding the Material Reserves Agency are to be written in such a way that they are directed only to the Polish gas giant.
– With these assumptions and such a bill, it is clear that PGNiG has no money. Article 2 of the Act, although it is not explicitly stated that it is about PGNiG, shows that the state-owned company will sell gas for about PLN 6 billion to the Material Reserves Agency, and the provision in Article 3 gives PLN 20 billion from the covid fund – explains the manager and former president of PGNiG Grażyna Piotrowska-Oliwa.
These records were clearly written under PGNiG. This may mean that the company has huge financial problems that require state aid that is not allowed in the EU – he adds.
According to Jakub Wiech, an energy expert and deputy editor-in-chief of Defence24, such regulations are a logical step in the current situation, when gas market prices are still far from normal, and in the background we have a global policy in which Russia treats gas as one of the tools to exerting influence on EU countries.
– The provisions of the draft act that were discussed are quite clearly focused on supporting PGNiG. I think these regulations are the need of the moment. Taking into account the situation on the gas market, what the current gas prices are and what the tariffs set by the Energy Regulatory Office require, the support also directed to PGNiG is something that is necessary and needed. The question is how will it be perceived by the European Commission, which must be informed about the new regulations. We will see how Brussels reacts to this. Certainly, these solutions will facilitate the operational activities of PGNiG in these critical months, when gas is still expensive and there is no option to relieve the market, explains Wiech.
The devil is in the details as always
– You have to check whether it is indeed a refund and does not include any price premium. This should be subject to control and notification to the European Commission. The same applies to sales to the Material Reserves Agency. It all really depends on the price at which gas is purchased from PGNiG. We cannot prejudge anything, if all the rigors are kept, we cannot speak of unauthorized state aid – explains Artur Nowak-Far in an interview with money.pl.
We asked about the draft act by the Ministry of State Assets. MAP spokesman Karol Manys did not want to comment on specific provisions, because it is still a project, but he referred to PGNiG itself and the situation on the gas market in Europe and in the world.
The legislative changes proposed by us, which are to protect Poles and sensitive institutions – such as hospitals or orphanages – against gigantic increases, will oblige PGNiG to sell gas at prices several times lower than it purchases it on the market. It is obvious that in such a situation any business entity would file for bankruptcy very quickly. We cannot bring about the collapse of a company that is so important for the security of the country. Therefore, the changes we propose are not to help PGNiG, but to protect Poles against price madness on the gas market, explains Karol Manys.