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Poland ready for shale gas

23 May 2011

Despite a French plan to ban fracking, Poland is set to push ahead with the development of its vast shale gas reserves. Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski said the country is set to face the challenges and welcomed the opportunities to boost domestic supplies.

“Using our own gas supplies does not only add to our energy security but also increases the competitiveness of the whole Polish economy,” Sikorski told a conference on Poland’s shale gas outlook. Poland holds the biggest the unconventional deposits in Europe with an estimated 5.3 tcm of technically recoverable shale gas reserves, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Major US energy firms are at the forefront of efforts to tap shale gas deposits in Poland and some other European countries. But some countries like France imposed a ban on shale gas drilling on its territory and will be passed on to the senate in June. “We know some countries have followed initiatives aimed at banning shale gas but we should not be afraid,” Sikorski said. “New technologies bring new risks but the technology is advancing.” Poland has granted 86 exploration concessions to some 25 companies, which have so far drilled seven shale wells but have not yet started fracking, Jezierski said, estimating the cost of drilling one well at 45 million zlotys (US$16.35 million). US giants such as ExxonMobil and Chevron have bought Poland's shale gas exploration permits along with Canada's BNK Petroleum, Italy's Sorgenia and other international and Polish firms. Even if shale deposits are confirmed, Chevron said much remains to be done to develop gas infrastructure in Poland and to finalise the regulatory framework. Chevron has four exploration concessions in eastern Poland as well as one open and three pending in Romania.
Poland produces around 5bcm of conventional gas every year, with annual consumption at 13bcm, and has confirmed supplies of 140bcm.

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