PKN ORLEN launches its own venture capital fund

PKN ORLEN formed Poland’s largest corporate venture capital fund, which is to invest around EUR 100 million (PLN 500 million) over ten years in innovative projects. The result will be a dynamic acceleration of PKN ORLEN’s transition, driven by commercialisation of advanced technologies and deployment of new business models. ORLEN VC’s investments will allow PKN ORLEN to directly and indirectly enter into new promising business partnerships that will boost its international position and to develop them in collaboration with the best teams.

- The VC fund is another milestone on the path to grow business in the field of innovative technologies that are vital for the ORLEN Group’s future operations. We have already built in Płock one of Europe's most modern Research and Development Centres, and launched our own ORLEN Skylight accelerator programme. Rapid technological advances, particularly in energy generation, are the future of PKN ORLEN’s business, also providing a real boost to security both in Poland and the entire region. Our own venture capital fund will forge partnerships with tech companies and will seek out innovative solutions to support the formation of a modern, zero-carbon and stable multi-utility business organisation - said Daniel Obajtek, President of the Management Board of PKN ORLEN.

ORLEN VC is to invest around EUR 100 million over the next decade. Thus PKN ORLEN has joined global oil and gas, chemical and energy industry leaders operating own CVC funds, such as Shell Technology Ventures, BP Ventures, Chevron Technology Ventures, Equinor and Saudi Aramco, with their investment budgets starting from approximately EUR 150 million.

Through indirect investment of EUR 10 million (approximately PLN 47 million), ORLEN VC has partnered with Emerald Technology Ventures' Industrial Fund. The Emerald fund is an undisputed global leader in venture capital investing in innovative breakthrough technologies. In addition to ORLEN VC, the fund’s strategic investment partners today are 30 large international companies from the chemical, petrochemical and energy sectors, including Chevron, ABB, Michelin, SABIC, and Suncor Energy.

ORLEN VC’s investment focus is on the following industries: petrochemicals, energy (transition, efficiency, digitalisation, renewables, storage), circular economy (recycling, waste management), modern retail (automation of purchasing processes and digitalisation of sales and logistics), next-generation biofuels, modern materials, new mobility, digitalisation (software, IOT), cyber security, and industry 4.0.

ORLEN VC is a cornerstone of PKN ORLEN’s innovation ecosystem. It also includes ORLEN Skylight, launched last year as Poland’s first corporate acceleration scheme for technology start-ups with an international reach, targeted at early-stage innovative businesses from all over the world with a finished product or service proposal. Three acceleration rounds have been held so far, with over 220 applications received in response to just under 60 business and technology challenges. Having evaluated the submitted proposals, PKN ORLEN resolved to establish collaboration with 11 start-ups. The Group is currently implementing several pilot deployments.

Innovation development is further supported by the Research and Development Centre in Płock (RDC) that opened in May 2021. Facilitating proprietary technology development and implementation projects, the RDC performs tests aimed at streamlining technological processes, enhancing products and optimising costs, with the first of the five pilot plants reflecting refinery and petrochemical processes already built as part of the pilot plant lab operations. Later this year, pilot diesel hydrodesulfurization, reforming and pyrolysis units will be built at the RDC.