Minister calls for patience on shale gas
PR dla Zagranicy
There is a good quantity of shale gas in Poland, but so far no possibility of extracting it on an industrial scale, Treasury Minister Andrzej Czerwiński said.
Treasury Minister Andrzej Czerwiński (R), with Renata Zaremba (C) and Włodzimierz Karpiński (L) at a press conference at the Sejm on Friday. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak
“We need to be patient and it will be at least several more years before mining technologies will be developed,” Czerwiński told reporters on Friday.
Speculation that large Polish companies may decide to withdraw from exploration of hydrocarbons from unconventional deposits such as shale was fueled on Thursday after state-owned refiner PKN Orlen in its financial report reduced its planned investments in its Lublin Shale project (including exploration of unconventional hydrocarbons).
The company said that the Lublin Shale project’s unconventional deposits had proved to be limited and had thus decided to narrow the areas of hydrocarbon exploration alongside a further rationalisation of capital expenditures.
“Gas prices are now so low that there is no need to incur high costs associated with the search for unconventional gas," Czerwiński said.
"This does not mean that work stops on technology. Polish companies, researchers, specialists will be working on adapting the technology for shale gas extraction and we have to be patient. Once we master this technology we will see that in about 10 years this gas will be cheap, and it will be distributed to customers," he explained.
Starting in 2008 the US shale revolution changed the energy map of that country. Estimates from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) in April 2011 sparked hopes for a similar revolution in Poland, showing that there could be a potential 5.3 trillion cubic metres of shale gas.
In September 2011 then Prime Minister Donald Tusk visited one of the test wells near Wejherowo and spoke of "moderate optimism" that the commercial exploitation of shale gas would begin in 2014.
The concept was further driven on during the term of former Treasury Minister Mikołaj Budzanowski (2011-2013), who hoped for a quick start of commercial extraction. He also aimed to engage Polish fuel companies and gas utilities, as well as the KGHM copper conglomerate, in the search for shale. This ultimately did not happen. Several multinationals, such as Exxon, Marathon and Talisman, have since withdrawn. (jh/rk)