WARSAW Nov 28 Poland's efforts to develop shale
gas resources to reduce its dependence on Russian supplies have
so far produced only "humble" results, deputy environment
minister Piotr Wozniak said on Wednesday.
An uncertain legal landscape and a lengthy testing process
from exploration wells partly explain why Poland has not yet
cashed in on the potential that has attracted oil majors and
international exploration companies to the country.
There had been only "very humble results so far with only 33
wells completed," Deputy Environment Minister Piotr Wozniak told
a shale gas conference.
Wozniak said the government expects to pick up the pace by
drilling a further 270 wells over the next seven to eight years.
The former Soviet-bloc nation sees shale gas as a way to
reduce its dependence on highly polluting coal, the source of
around 90 percent of its power, and on Russia, supplier of most
of Poland's gas at a price which Warsaw views as uncompetitive.
Poland had high hopes for domestic shale gas after a 2011
study by the U.S. Energy Information Association estimated its
reserves at 5.3 trillion cubic metres, enough to cover domestic
demand for around three centuries.
But the country's own study published this year slashed the
estimate for recoverable shale gas reserves to between 346
billion and 768 billion cubic metres.
The country's shale future suffered another blow this year
when U.S. oil major ExxonMobil announced it would pull
out of exploration projects in Poland.
Wozniak said it was not yet clear what would happen with
Exxon's former licences but that it was not uncommon for
company's at this stage to leave concessions.
"Every single licence has been changed once over the past
three years," he said. "All new investors change the plans at
Wozniak underlined the importance for Poland to assure
nervous foreign investors by laying out clear regulations for
exploration, drilling and extraction.
"Shale gas will force energy market liberalisation in Poland
and the CEE region," he said. "We need more gas than we have so