In Vilnius, ORLEN Lietuva and the Lithuanian Railways signed an agreement ending long-running disputes between the companies. Wojciech Jasiński, President of the Management Board of PKN ORLEN, Saulius Skvernelis, Prime Minister of Lithuania, and Rokas Masiulis, Lithuanian Minister of Transport, were present at the event.
The compromise provides for an equal distribution of the mutual claims arising from the dispute over the infrastructure charge. An agreement, considered by both parties as competitive and beneficial to the business, was also reached on the tariffs and mutual obligations. Additionally, a method of applying the infrastructure charge was worked out.
“The decision to pursue the investment project in Mažeikiai, which had been taken under the patronage of President Lech Kaczyński, was an economic decision, but also a decision on our long-term commitment to the stability of the entire region. Therefore, one of the priorities of my Management Board was to open a new chapter in the relations in this market, in particular between ORLEN Lietuva and the Lithuanian Railways. We have had several months of difficult and tough negotiations, with both sides defending their positions. Thanks to the professionalism, commitment and willingness to work out solutions, we managed to reach an agreement that will ensure stability, development opportunities and economic benefits to both parties,” said Wojciech Jasiński, President of PKN ORLEN.
PKN ORLEN and the Lithuanian Railways undertook to terminate the court disputes concerning issues provided for in the agreement and not to engage in any future disputes on these matters.
The issue of rebuilding the track section to Renge, dismantled in 2008, remains to be decided upon after the decision of the European Commission has been announced. This issue was not negotiated because of the ongoing proceedings in Brussels.
The agreement was an effect of the efforts of the negotiating teams of ORLEN Lietuva and the Lithuanian Railways and the direct involvement of the relevant governments. Remedying the tense situation around ORLEN’s Lithuanian project was one of the priorities of PKN ORLEN’s Management Board in the last several months. On the other hand, both the new management of the Lithuanian Railways and Minister Masiulis, with the support of Prime Minister Skvernelis, were determined to thoroughly review the themes underlying the long-standing misunderstandings.
“This dispute was not favourable either to Lithuania or to Poland. Too bad it took so much time. Fortunately, we can now set a good example for how to develop Polish-Lithuanian relations. Today’s agreement shows that even the most difficult and pressing issues in economic or political relations can be resolved. Everything depends entirely on the goodwill of both sides,” said Saulius Skvernelis, Prime Minister of Lithuania.
The dispute between ORLEN Lietuva and the Lithuanian Railways began in 2008, when the track to Renge, the shortest link between Mažeikiai and Latvia, was dismantled. In the following years, the Railway’s failure to apply guaranteed competitive transport tariffs to ORLEN Lietuva gave rise to further misunderstanding. Then, the already high rates for ORLEN Lietuva were increased by the infrastructure charge, which – depending on the amount of freight – could reach from several to about a dozen or so million euros per year.