In the country that is a largest Polish coal importer – Russia, there is an old saying: “Everything new is actually well-forgotten old”. It took barely two months for some to forget and bring back to the table the same old project of Nowa Kompania Węglowa. Almost the same.
The custom of replacing disobedient Management Board worked well when there was necessity of planting Brzeszcze mine to someone, now the same trick might work with bringing Energa, PGE and PGNiG into investment in NKW. Reluctant so far, the energy groups will be more willing to do so under the new executives.
The first signal of following the old strategy was sent when PiS decided to keep deputy minister Wojciech Kowalczyk on board. The main difference in new-old-new KW is the plan to prolong the regulations of Hard Coal Mining Act of 2015, basing on which Kompania Węglowa and Katowicki Holding Węglowy moved some of their least prospective facilities to Mines Restructuring Company (SRK). Today there are speculations of moving to SRK another 5-8 mines, not only from the two producers mentioned above, but also from JSW (Krupiński) and Węglokoks (Piekary).
Can we expect some protests from European Commission? Probably so, because last week Kowalczyk and Grzegorz Tobiszowski with executives from KW and Węglokoks went to Brussels to describe their plan of establishing NKW and discuss the possibilities of public aid for that purpose.
Protests might come also from the other end of the table. Silesian labor unions already started to make threats, that if NKW will be formed of 7 mines (as some investors would wish) instead of 11, it will surely lead to some “unnecessary public tension” – as they wrote yesterday in the letter to Minister of Energy.