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The Warsaw Voice » Business » April 26, 2012
Business & Economy
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Shale Gas: Still Worth the Effort
April 26, 2012   
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Poland’s shale gas reserves are probably much smaller than previously estimated, but if extracted, the gas would still significantly improve the country’s energy security.

In April 2011, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Poland had exploitable shale gas reserves of 5.3 trillion cubic meters, the largest amount among the 32 European countries it studied. According to the EIA, these reserves would be enough to meet Poland’s demand for gas for 300 years.

However, the Report on Polish Shale Gas and Crude Oil Reserves published in March by the Polish Geological Institute (PIG) did not confirm this assessment. The report puts Poland’s reserves of unconventional gas, both onshore and offshore, at a maximum of 1.9 trillion cubic meters. “This is an opening report, which will be updated in the future,” said Piotr Wo¼niak, deputy environment minister and Poland’s chief geological officer.

The 1.9 trillion cubic meters is the most optimistic assessment, reporters were told at a news conference held to present the Polish report.

Most of the shale gas deposits are located in a belt running from the Baltic to the Podlasie and Lublin regions. The actual deposits are likely to range from 345 billion to 768 billion cubic meters, which would be enough to meet Poland’s demand for shale gas for 35 years at the least and 65 years at the most. “It is still 5.5 times more than the amount of known conventional gas deposits,” Wo¼niak said.

The downward revision of estimated shale gas reserves in Poland does not change the fact that extracting it could improve the country’s energy security. “Even if there are only 350 billion cubic meters of shale gas, it’s worth the effort,” said Gra¿yna Piotrowska-Oliwa, president of Polish Oil and Gas Company (PGNiG).

In March, the company began another round of shale gas exploration activities in the Lublin region in southeastern Poland. The Lublin region is the second area in Poland after Pomerania where PGNiG holds concessions for shale gas exploration.

Work on the Lubocino-1 well in Pomerania, under the Wejherowo concession, is the most advanced. In September 2011, PGNiG started to extract shale gas from this well, though not yet on an industrial scale.

“The search for and—in the near future—extraction of shale gas in Poland will be a huge challenge for the economic development of the whole country. We are now talking not only about gas extraction but also about building a whole industry associated with the extraction of hydrocarbons in Poland,” said Treasury Minister Miko³aj Budzanowski. The Treasury Ministry wants to begin the extraction of shale gas on a mass scale in two or three years.
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