On Wednesday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki unexpectedly dismissed Piotr Naimski from his position as the government spokesperson for strategic energy infrastructure and secretary of state in the Prime Minister's Office.
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As Wyborcza has unofficially learned, the PM did not provide any written justification for his decision. Mr. Naimski oversaw several state-owned energy transmission companies, including Gaz-System, the company responsible for the Polish part of the Baltic Pipe project- a pipeline transporting natural gas from Norway to Poland via Denmark.

The information was later confirmed by Piotr Naimski himself. "As a verbal justification, I was told that I am not suitable for cooperation and 'I block everything'"- he wrote on Facebook the same day.

He added that the Baltic Pipe launch ceremony is scheduled to take place on September 27. "I dare say that the construction of this pipeline between Poland and Norwegian gas deposits is one of the more important political and economic successes our country has achieved in the past three decades (...) Russia will not be able to blackmail us by turning off the 'gas tap' anymore" - Piotr Naimski stated. 

Was it Kaczyński’s idea? 

According to our sources, the person behind Mr. Naimski’s dismissal is the leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party Jarosław Kaczyński. In the past, Piotr Naimski has been a close associate of the Kaczyński brothers. It was also long believed that Jarosław Kaczyński supported Naimski’s projects to make Poland independent from Russian energy supplies. However, apparently the two politicians have also frequently disagreed.

In the evening, Piotr Naimski's resignation was confirmed by Prime Minister Morawiecki on Twitter. In his Twitter post, however, the PM did not mention that it was a dismissal, nor did he give any reasons for the decision. He only wrote: "Today, he [Piotr Naimski] ends his mission in the government". The vague tone could have suggested that Mr. Naimski had resigned.

Green light for Daniel Obajtek

Mr. Naimiski’s dismissal coincides with significant changes in the Polish energy sector. One day before Piotr Naimski was told to leave his post, the Polish government greenlit the long-anticipated merger of the state-run oil giant PKN Orlen and the Gdańsk-based oil refinery Lotos. A crucial part of the merger is an agreement with Saudi Aramco and Hungary’s MOL Group. The Saudi Arabian company agreed to buy 30% of shares in the refining subsidiary of Lotos, while the Hungarian MOL will take over 417 Lotos branded petrol stations nationwide.  

In another move, Orlen is to liquidate PGNiG- the Polish state-run oil and gas company. Given Putin’s weaponization of gas supplies to the EU, the decision has raised serious concerns.

The main proponent of these plans is Orlen CEO Daniel Obajtek- repeatedly praised by Jarosław Kaczyński as "a man of mission (...) with a God-given quality to mobilize people around a shared goal", who has jumped from the post of a small-town mayor to successive positions in government agencies and companies.

Obajtek takes over Poland’s energy sector

Piotr Naimski’s dismissal from his government post also means the removal of a person competent in energy matters who could block further moves by Daniel Obajtek and his inner circle.

Last October, Michał Kurtyka, a close associate of Piotr Naimski, was dismissed from his position as head of the Ministry of Climate and Environment responsible for Poland’s energy politics. His place was taken by Anna Moskwa, who until then was a manager at the Orlen Group.

On Monday, Daniel Obajtek's former subordinate Anna Łukaszewska-Trzeciakowska became the new deputy climate minister.

At the same time, Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin has long made sure that Orlen managers occupy key positions in the companies Mr. Obajtek wants to close.  It is likely that soon after Piotr Naimski's dismissal we will also see purges at the companies he oversaw: Gaz-System, PERN Group and PSE.

"I hope that the projects led by us and still in progress, like the construction of a nuclear power plant, will be just as consistently implemented without my participation" - Piotr Naimski wrote in a farewell post on Facebook.

*** 

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