Zones of shale gas in Poland [Polish institute of Geology]
SPECIAL REPORT: There are 65 shale gas wells and drills in Poland, more than any other European country. The UK, the other EU member state with plans to develop the resource, has only a couple of wells.
Poland plans to build 50 new shale wells every 12 months over the next few years but currently, the focus is more on exploration than exploitation. It has granted 82 concessions to prospect for unconventional hydrocarbons, 72 of those are shale gas related.
Officials have shown EurActiv proof of the scale of the country’s ambitions. [See the full list of concessions]. The companies who won concessions are Chevron, PGNIG S.A., Polski Koncern Naftowy Orlen S.A., Grupa Lotos S.A., Petrolinvest S.A., Winsent Oil & Gas Plc, San Leon Energy Plc, LNG Energy LTD, ConocoPhilps B.V., Moorfoot Trading Limited, Cuadrilla Resources Limited, BNK Petroleum, BNK Poland Holdings B.V., Kaynes Capital S.a.r.l., Mac Oil Spa, Basgas Pty Ltd.
But officials also insist Warsaw is committed to meeting EU legal and environmental stands in shale gas development.
The European Commission tabled several recommendations concerning shale gas on 22 January, after EurActiv revealed the draft text.
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“We are very devoted to applying those recommendations, we are doing pretty much what we can to apply those recommendations to the maximum extent possible,” said a Polish expert who asked not to be named.
He said that all the 65 exploratory wells were monitored and that there was no evidence of any pollution or soil contamination.
No single solution
The Polish view is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” EU solution because the characteristics of wells vary significantly. Expects believe specific conditions should be taken into account.
Poland has amended its geological and mining laws to reflect the EU’s recommendations. New legislation concerning the granting of concessions, the performance of concession and strengthening concession and mining supervisor have been passed in months rather than the years it usually takes to amend laws.
The EU is lagging behind in shale gas research because there are not many shale gas-related construction sites. Warsaw is reportedly putting pressure on the Commission to produce a report from several construction sites about every environmental aspect of prospecting for shale gas.
It is expected to be ready by the end of the year or the beginning of 2015, EurActiv was told.
Several public information campaigns about shale gas were conducted in Poland. Opinion polls in 2013 showed that 73% of Polish citizens are in favour of shale gas, a very high figure by international standards.
Poland also insists that EU legislation should not put unnecessary burdens on energy companies.
Asked about a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice casting doubt on the legality of shale gas licences issued by Warsaw without open tenders, an expert explained that the issue had been dealt with in the