Polish fuel market


Domestic demand for fuels is shaped by the general economic situation in Poland and the region. In the last two years, the Polish fuel market has been challenged by a growing grey market, driven by high fuel prices and the economic slowdown. Illegally imported diesel oil, which fails to be captured by official statistics, is the main commodity on the grey market. Officially, the consumption of diesel oil in 2013 was 11.3m tonnes, 6% down on 2012. POPiHN estimates that in 2013 fuels sold on the grey market may have accounted for as much as 12% of total volumes. Despite the unfavourable domestic trends, diesel oil remained the primary transport fuel in Poland, with an estimated 65.5% share in domestic consumption in 2013.

Gasoline sales on the Polish market in 2013 followed prevalent trends in other parts of Europe and continued to fall. As in previous years, demand for gasolines in 2013 fell on the back of high retail prices, by over 2% (84 thousand tonnes), down to 3.7m tonnes. Other adverse economic trends helped depressed demand, such as high unemployment and the resulting limited use of motor vehicles, as well as improved fuel efficiency caused by wide-spread fleet upgrades.

Given the high prices of gasoline in 2013, the less expensive alternative fuel, LPG, also gained in popularity. In 2013, estimated fuel consumption was 2.3m tonnes (up 4% year on year), with stronger demand seen in the LPG segment and other segments of the gas market (including for heating purposes).

Demand for light fuel oil in 2013 continued to decline, contracting by a further 10% to 843 thousand tonnes. This market segment was affected by increased interest in alternative heating fuels.

2013 also saw a growth in demand for aviation fuel. Its over 10% increase was caused by stronger competition on the domestic aviation fuel market with the toppling of Petrolot’s dominance, which opened the door to aviation fuel from alternative markets.

Data 2013 suggest that consumption declined by 4% year on year for all engine fuels combined (gasoline, diesel oil and LPG).

Fuel consumption in Poland (‘000 tonnes)

Source: In-house analysis of Polish Organization of Oil Industry and Trade (POPiHN) data.