The Polish oil concern Orlen has an actual plan to enter the Ukrainian market of oil products, Energy Minister of Ukraine Herman Haluschenko has said.
"They visited [Ukraine] recently. Unfortunately, I could not meet with them. But I know from my colleagues that they came up with a real plan to enter the Ukrainian market. This is great!" Haluschenko said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
According to him, the concern is considering the possibility of buying out the networks and entering several segments, in particular, oil refining and petrochemicals.
At the same time, the minister suggested that in this process, some problems may arise, related, in particular, to the shortage of crude oil made in Ukraine.
"They [Orlen] also understand that oil in Ukraine is not a subject of production. We have to get it somewhere... At most, we can buy oil instead of oil products, but what is the point then? And will there be investments in Ukraine if nearby Mazeikiai oil refinery in Lithuania, part of Orlen, and several other refineries are located?" the minister said.
Regarding the state policy on the oil products market as a whole, in his opinion, it consists in the need to change the geography of imports and to carry out import substitution.
"Today, we have a huge percentage of imports – 80% and even more: Russia and Belarus. This is not a completely normal story. Therefore, it is very important to look at partners from other countries and at how much we ourselves can increase refining," the head Ministry of Energy said.
At the same time, he said that to increase internal processing, it is important to avoid another problem – the transition from an external monopolist to an internal one, which could become the Kremenchuk refinery.
"In fact, our key one is Kremenchuk [Refinery]. By the way, they declare the possibility of increasing processing capacity at least twice. And this [the transition from one monopolist – Russia – to another] can also potentially become a problem," Haluschenko said.
According to him, to avoid monopoly on the part of anyone, it is necessary to promote increased competition in the market, and the ministry is ready for any steps that will help investors enter the Ukrainian market as soon as possible.
"Where we do not have our own production, we must very carefully build a policy of balance sheets and ensure supplies from different directions. There must be diversification," the minister said, expressing his conviction and adding that communications are underway with many companies in the oil and gas industry.
At the same time, he said that the creation of minimum reserves of petroleum products will make it possible to balance in the market in case of contingencies.