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The Warsaw Voice » Business » April 28, 2011
Business & Economy
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Poland Has Most Shale Gas in Europe: Report
April 28, 2011   
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Poland has 5.29 trillion cubic meters of recoverable shale gas, the largest reserves in Europe, according to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The estimate is one of the most optimistic forecasts so far. Previously, the Wood Mackenzie company estimated Polish shale gas resources at 1.4 trillion cubic meters and Advanced Resources International at 3 trillion cubic meters.

Polish experts have so far largely stopped short of predicting a shale gas bonanza, but agree the gas is there. They add that even if only 10 percent of the amount specified in the most cautious estimates can be extracted, that would mark a breakthrough for the Polish energy market.

The Energy Information Administration lists Poland among countries where shale gas production will be of key importance to the national energy mix. It adds that Poland has extra motivation to invest in shale gas because it is dependent on natural gas imports and has a well-developed network of gas pipelines, which will facilitate deliveries of natural gas to recipients.

Poland was in 10th place on a EIA list of 32 countries with the world’s largest shale gas resources. Poland’s current demand for natural gas is 14 billion cubic meters a year.

According to the Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo (PGNiG) oil and gas extraction corporation, shale gas production could begin in Poland in three years. The company has conducted successful test drills near Wejherowo in Pomerania province and is examining samples obtained in the test.

Foreign companies which have been searching for shale gas in Poland are a little more cautious in their predictions and believe that production on a larger scale will not be possible until five years from now.

Holders of licenses to extract shale gas in Poland include American corporations Chevron and ExxonMobil. The BNK Petroleum and Lane Energy companies have carried out their first drills.

The United States tops the world statistics in terms of shale gas production. According to the Energy Information Administration study, last year the United States produced 137 billion cubic meters of shale gas, 50 percent up on 2009. The Energy Information Administration forecasts that by 2035, shale gas will account for almost 50 percent of annual natural gas production in the United States. Last year, it accounted for 23 percent.
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