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Poland to get gas from 'fracking' in Europe

Published time: August 29, 2013 14:43
Edited time: December 24, 2013 15:09
A shale gas fracking facility run by Poland's PKN Orlen company is seen on the outskirts of the village of Uscimow, south-eastern Poland, June 15, 2013. (Reuters/Peter Andrews)

A shale gas fracking facility run by Poland's PKN Orlen company is seen on the outskirts of the village of Uscimow, south-eastern Poland, June 15, 2013. (Reuters/Peter Andrews)

Poland has begun a test extraction of shale gas in amounts not seen in Europe before. Eager to reduce energy dependency on Russia, Poland has succeeded after three international firms quit drilling in the country.

Lane Energy Poland, controlled by ConocoPhillips, is now extracting some 8,000 cubic metres of shale gas per day at a test well in the northern city of Lebork in Poland, Reuters quotes a polish newspaper. Although the productivity of the site is lower than at gas fields in the US or Canada, it is still a breakthrough and marks the first positive result for shale gas extraction in Europe, according to the Poland's Chief Geologist Piotr Wozniak.

Another Polish refiner PKN Orlen is also expected to announce the production results of tests at its well in Syczyn in eastern Poland, one of the most promising in the country.

Three international majors, Exxon Mobil, Marathon Oil, and Talisman Energy, dropped out of the programme after they failed to hit their targets. According to a June report by US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the estimates for Poland's shale gas resources have fallen from 187 trillion to 148 trillion cubic metres.

Poland imports up to 70 percent of its gas from Russia and is eager to reduce its energy reliance on its neighbor. The country issued more than 100 shale gas exploration licenses to local and international firms which have drilled 48 wells so far.

Poland’s shale gas breakthrough sparked talks on Warsaw’s getting rid of “gas dependence” on Russia in the near future, foreign media reports. However, the senior analyst at Investcafe consultancy Grigory Birg told Business RT, Polish shale gas may lead to minor reduction of gas price for Poland, but won’t have an impact on the amounts in acquires from Gazprom.

“On the one hand, growth in the supply of gas through the active development of shale deposits may lead to some reduction in prices , however, given that the cost of shale gas extraction never exceeds the cost of traditional gas production, the potential for lower prices - is limited”, Birg told RT.

Environmental concerns over the technology of fracking has divided European politicians and society. France and Bulgaria have completely abandoned the use of fracking. However, at the moment 12 European countries are running shale gas extraction tests, Reuters reports.

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