Poland’s high hopes that shale gas will free it from the oppressive influence of Gazprom, and the polluting energy source of coal, seems to have suffered a bit of a set-back.
Coal currently accounts for 90% of Poland’s electricity generating capacity, and natural gas imported from Russia, at very unfavourable prices, makes up the remaining 10%.
Plans to develop its domestic shale gas industry have produced, as Piotr Wozniak, the Deputy Environment Minister, puts it, “very humble results so far with only 33 wells completed.” He expects another 270 wells to be drilled over the next seven to eight years, still not the most ambitious rate of development, especially given the rate of decline of similar wells in the US.
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The uncertain legal landscape and lengthy testing process offers part of an explanation as to why Poland has not yet taken full advantage of the potential of its reported shale resources.
A study by the US Energy Information Association in 2011 estimated that Poland could hold gas reserves of as much as 5.3 trillion cubic metres.
Wozniak has stated that foreign investment will be vital to developing that potential, and to this end the Polish government must lay out clear regulations for exploration, drilling, and extraction in order to assure foreign investors.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com