ORLEN and Synthos have signed a cooperation agreement to jointly develop and
implement zero-emission nuclear energy technologies based on micro and small
modular reactors (MMRs and SMRs). Delivery of the objectives set out in the
agreement will further the ORLEN Group’s strategic goal of achieving carbon
neutrality by 2050, while improving Poland’s energy security.
Small modular reactors (SMRs) are electricity
generating units which, unlike traditional nuclear power plants, can reach a
total capacity of up to 300 MW, are mass manufactured and delivered as a whole
to a site to be installed. The mass manufacturing process makes it possible to
achieve economies of scale and a relatively short construction time. Small and
larger energy systems can be built, depending on the needs. The deployment
configuration of SMRs can vary between standalone or multi-module plants,
gradually placed in operation, making the entire project easier to finance.
‘There is no turning back from the energy transition. At PKN ORLEN, we
are guided by the ORLEN2030 strategy, where a strong focus is placed on energy
efficiency advances and development of zero- and low-carbon energy sources. We
are open to innovative solutions that would build the value of the ORLEN Group
in the coming years, solidifying its position as Central Europe’s energy
transition leader. Realising the great potential of SMRs, we have decided to
sign the cooperation agreement with Synthos that is being announced today. We
can see in SMRs a potential source of energy both for our own refining and
petrochemical operations, and for third parties. SMRs would also provide
process heat and support the pursuit of the ORLEN Group’s hydrogen strategy.
Working to develop SMR technologies, we have a chance to secure a source of
zero-emission energy, but also to strengthen Poland’s economy and energy
security,’ said Daniel Obajtek, President of the Management Board of PKN
Thanks to its cooperation with Synthos, the
ORLEN Group will gain access to SMR technologies and experience, while the
Synthos Group will acquire a solid partner for joint development of small
nuclear power plants in Poland. Under the agreement, both companies will
jointly carry out research and explore the feasibility of deploying SMRs at the
ORLEN Group’s production plants in Poland.
‘We are delighted to be
opening another chapter in our relations with the ORLEN Group. Thanks to the
agreement just signed between the ORLEN Group and Synthos, Poland has a chance
of securing cutting-edge technologies for zero-emission nuclear power. Their
deployment is extremely important to both companies, as well as to Polish
industry in general, faced with the challenge of cutting greenhouse gas
emissions without compromising the competitive position of Polish business on
the European and global markets. Small modular reactors represent a
decarbonisation opportunity that, as a complement to renewables, will ensure
the security of electricity and heat supplies for both industrial applications
and potentially for district heating. As a wholly new segment of the Polish
economy, nuclear energy will also spur the creation of a number of modern jobs.
Looking at other countries, such as the US, Canada or the UK, which are aware
of potential benefits offered by SMRs, they are also committed to promoting SMR
development. Our working links with the ORLEN Group date back two decades, and
today our two companies are joining forces to achieve a shared vision of
spearheading the green energy revolution in this decade and beyond. With the
ORLEN Group’s involvement, I am confident that our joint pioneering project for
Poland will be an unqualified success,’ said Zbigniew Warmuz, President of
the Management Board of Synthos.
SMRs are a technology solution that would open up an array of potential
synergies for PKN ORLEN. Given the directions of its business growth and
investment strategy so far, focused, among other things, on fast-paced
expansion of the offshore wind power and solar PV business, SMRs could be a
carbon-free alternative to the ORLEN Group’s existing power generation assets.
Its agreement with Synthos is a response to growing demand for
electricity and the need to further reduce GHG emissions in line with the requirements
of the European Green Deal and other commitments. Investments in low- and
zero-emission energy sources are among the pillars of the ORLEN Group’s vision
of evolving into a multi-utility powerhouse. The agreement will pave the way
for possible future establishment of a joint venture between the two groups to
develop zero-emission energy projects.
In addition to SMRs, other opportunities will also be explored for
collaborative projects, including joint investments in offshore wind power, an
area where the ORLEN Group already has extensive capabilities and experience
that can support further growth.
Under the agreement, the partners are also to jointly promote and
prepare SMR and MMR deployments in Poland, take action for regulatory alignment
and potentially deploy the SMR and MMR technologies. The agreement provides a
framework for cooperation between the parties, with detailed rules to be worked