Polish oil refiner PKN Orlen plans to be climate neutral by 2050

WARSAW, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Poland’s top oil refiner PKN Orlen said on Wednesday it plans to invest 25 billion zlotys ($6.6 billion) in green energy projects that will help it become climate neutral by 2050.

State-run PKN’s plans, which follow low-emission strategies from Europe’s energy giants, are out of line with the wider approach by Poland, which has been the only European Union state to refuse to commit to carbon neutrality by 2050.

Top oil and gas firms in Europe have committed to greenhouse gas emission reduction targets which vary in scope and detail, making them hard for investors to compare.

BP, Shell, Total, Eni, and Equinor are all focusing cuts on oil and gas activities, while boosting investments in renewables and low carbon businesses, Reuters calculations show.

“The global energy transformation that is taking place before our eyes is a huge development opportunity for Central Europe. As the largest company in the region, we want to increase our involvement in this process and we are well positioned to do it,” PKN Chief Executive Daniel Obajtek said.

PKN said in a statement that it plans to reduce carbon emissions from its refinery and petrochemical assets by 20% and by 33% in its power generation over the next ten years, adding it will provide more details in its strategy update which is expected in the fourth quarter.

Earlier this year, PKN took over state-run utility Energa and replaced coal with gas as the proposed fuel for Energa’s planned power plant in Ostroleka, northeast Poland.

Energa is a minority shareholder in PGG, Poland’s biggest coal producer which faces restructuring due to falling demand for coal and rising production costs.

PKN Orlen did not refer to PGG in its statement. ($1 = 3.7888 zlotys) (Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Alexander Smith)