Intellectual capital

Over the next ten years, the Group plans to spend up to 3% of its growth capex (some PLN 3 billion in total) on innovation, research and development, with a particular focus on green technologies.


  • Goal 7
  • Goal 9
  • Goal 11
  • Goal 12
  • Goal 13


The funds will be used to develop the Corporate Venture Capital fund and finance the activities of the ORLEN Research & Development Centre, among other projects. Another essential element will be the digital transformation, driving efficiency gains in production and distribution, helping mitigate the environmental footprint and fostering customer relations. We will put in place a new management model, tailored to the scale of the Group’s operations and taking into account the ongoing acquisition processes. The ORLEN Group will be an organisation relying on knowledge and versatile competences, investing in talent and human capital.

Key facts about the capital

Over 35,000 committed and highly qualified employees, including staff with extensive experience in the refining, petrochemical, power generation and upstream sectors.

Unwavering focus on strong operational standards and operational excellence achieved through the Integrated Management System.

For individual areas of our operations, ensuring the highest management standards.

Strategic Research Agenda – a document based on the ORLEN Group’s strategic objectives that encompasses both ongoing and pipeline projects, the Group’s long-term development plans, as well as recommended new directions in research, technology development and innovation. It provides an integrated description of innovation and new technology development directions at the ORLEN Group, taking into account its strategic objectives.

Programme, addressed to young technology companies from all over the world that offer innovative solutions ready for pilot implementation, scaling or commercialisation as part of PKN ORLEN’s production, logistics and sales infrastructure, or in new potential areas of activity and areas where new revenue streams may be generated.

ORLEN VC corporate fund – supports technology companies working on modern products or services that fit in with the ORLEN 2030 business strategy at the initial stage of their development and in early expansion phase (excluding the pre-seed and seed phases). More than half a billion złoty will be allocated for that purpose.

NEON grant programme – a programme run by PKN ORLEN and the National Centre for Research and Development, which will allocate PLN 200m for innovative research and development projects. The programme is targeted at scientific and scientific and industrial institutions.

Digital Transformation Programme – its objective is to promote solutions based on emerging technologies across the organisation and to support projects showing the greatest economic and environmental potential. How digital solutions are supporting decarbonisation is discussed in PKN ORLEN’s expert report of December 2021 entitled ‘No decarbonisation without digitalisation. Sustainability needs digital technology’.

The modern Research and Development Centre in Płock, opened in 2021, being one of the initiatives of key importance to the future of the ORLEN Group, implemented under the Petrochemical Development Programme. Worth around PLN 184m, the project is in line with the ORLEN 2030 business strategy objectives of increasing investment in research, development and innovation.

The Centre is one of the elements of the Company’s innovation ecosystem created to meet the challenges of intensive development of various ORLEN Group segments as a space for building a portfolio of pilot technology projects. It provides unique infrastructure based on which research can be conducted under conditions that are rarely achievable in the world of science, in accordance with global best practices in the refining, petrochemical and chemical sectors. The objective of its operation is to shorten the time required to complete individual research phases in the process of technology industrialisation.

ORLEN Unipetrol Research and Education Centre and ORLEN Polymer Institute Brno operating in the Czech republic.

PKN ORLEN took the top position in the Rzeczpospolita daily’s ranking of the most valuable Polish brands. The ORLEN brand was valued at nearly PLN 10 billion.

Capital management

PKN ORLEN’s innovations are the response to the challenges brought by the global energy transition.

They are oriented towards sustainability, decarbonisation and digital transformation. The objectives defined in the Strategic Research Agenda are implemented with the use of our tools supporting development of new technologies in the open innovation model: ORLEN Skylight Accelerator, ORLEN VC fund and the Research and Development Centre.

  • Fostering collaboration with start-ups. Information on the completed projects is available at:
  • PKN ORLEN’s first ever conference promoting research and implementation of Carbon Capture and utilisation (CCU) solutions under the name eco2nference. The event was financed with funds obtained under the Horizon 2020 project BioRECO@ver. It was attended by speakers from various European countries, the European Parliament, the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, Polish and foreign universities, the CO2 Value Europe Association, technology companies, and representatives of industry implementing the latest technologies in this field.
  • In-house research and testing to improve processes, products and inputs.
  • Efforts to build dialogue and collaboration with universities, research and development centres, inventors and innovators, accelerators and technology start-ups, and manufacturers and suppliers of innovative technologies.

In addition to standard relations resulting from the implementation of research projects, we actively engaged in activities designed to look for innovative technological solutions in academic and technology environments by organising project meetings, i.e. the Innovation Day. Within its framework, 14 meetings were held in 2021 with the participation of Polish universities, research institutes, technology transfer centres and chemical industry companies as well as R&D specialists and experts of PKN ORLEN and other ORLEN Group companies. The guests presenting their solutions included representatives of such universities as: Białystok University of Technology, Warsaw University of Technology in Płock, Solaris Centre of the Jagiellonian University, Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute, Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation, Military University of Technology, Institute of Industrial Chemistry, and Gdańsk University of Technology.

The following R&D projects are being conducted in collaboration with Polish scientists:

The first offline demo unit was launched at the PTA (terephthalic acid) Plant in Włocławek,

enabling innovative solutions to move from the experimental phase straight to testing in a real-like industrial environment before their full-scale implementation at a production plant. The challenge allows employees to participate in the work to develop Poland’s first catalyst formulation. Implementation-based doctoral programmes are run in the area of catalysis.

The world’s first innovative dual sensor system enabling simultaneous assessment of the corrosion rate and susceptibility to hydrogen embrittlement and cracking through continuous hydrogen concentration monitoring.

Implementation-based doctoral programmes are run in the area of corrosion.

Plastics recycling – the option to use the innovative Hydro-PRTSM technology in implementing plastics chemical recycling projects is being analysed.

The raw materials obtained in the process would be used to make petrochemical and refining products. An implementation-based doctoral programmes is run in the area of plastics recycling.

A joint project of PKN ORLEN and the National Centre for Research and Development; the partners are going to allocate PLN 200m under a grant programme for innovative research and development projects in the areas of biomass use, decarbonisation, circular economy and Industry 4.0.

It is addressed to scientific institutions, businesses and their consortia. The best project deliverables will be applied by the Group in its operations to support its sustainable development. The first competitions will be announced by the end of 2022.

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2021 2020
ORLEN Skylight Accelerator – submissions relating to challenges in PKN ORLEN’s key business areas nearly 60 programme launched in mid-2021
Start-ups enrolled in ORLEN Skylight Accelerator over 200 programme launched in mid-2021
Positive recommendation for pilot implementations in 2022 11 start-ups programme launched in mid-2021
Growth and efficiency improvement projects over 300 not published 
Research, development and innovation activities carried out by PKN ORLEN in cooperation with scientific institutions and universities. 87 65

How intellectual capital interacts with other capitals

Intellectual capital requires large outlays to develop but it has immense impact on human, social and production capitals. An example is our in-house Research and Development Centre established in Płock. The facility, which is going to employ specialists with extensive R&D knowledge and skills, will serve as a modern platform for collaboration with scientific circles.

The ORLEN Group’s strategic growth is based on efforts to maximise the economics of its production assets, extend its value chain, expand its product portfolio and build a modern petrochemical business by expanding its petrochemical assets (base products, advanced products and polymers), which reinforces the Group’s position in the European market and increases income for the shareholders in the long term.

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