Poland: Ministry of Environment Releases Update on Shale Gas Search

Ministry of Environment Releases Update on Shale Gas Search

On Friday, Polish Ministry of Environment published the report on the country’s shale gas search.

The biggest number of shale gas searching in Europe takes place in Poland. – “Since the beginning Poland has been the leader of shale gas searching In Europe. The investors adhere to their liabilities – we haven’t noticed any major inconsistencies. The works on shale gas searching bores accelerate” – underlines Piotr Woźniak, the Main Geologist of the State and the undersecretary in the Ministry of Environment, who supervises this process.

Although the investors’ interest was most intense in years 2009 and 2010, the first licenses for searching the shale gas have been already issued in 2007. After issuing 111 licenses for searching on the most prospective areas of Poland, namely the strip of land from Pomorze to Lubelszczyzna regions, the interest in acquiring the licenses is still great. Several tens of applications wait in a line for The Minister of Environment’s decision. Also the existing license holders continue to apply for the approval for increasing the number of bores.

In comparison, China, which is 15 times bigger than Poland, has only three times more shale gas searching bores than Poland. And the Chinese shale gas resources are estimated to be 7 times bigger than in Poland (according to American forecast).

Minister Piotr Woźniak evaluates the progress of the searching works in Poland as follows:

“Recently, the bore Szymkowo in Brodnica district in kujawsko-pomorskie voivodeship, on a license granted to Talisman company, was finished. In close future the new bore in Prabuty district in pomorskie voivodeship on the license of Marathon Oil Poland Sp. z.o.o will start. Until today, 23 bores have been finished in Poland and 6 are still in progress. Until the end of the year 2012, new 41 bores will start. The boring continues in Poland almost all the time. As the Main Geologist, I am really glad that shale gas searching accelerated this way. The more bores will be made in short time, the quicker we will obtain the confirmation of our forecast concerning the shale gas resources in the layers.

“In this context, particular attention should be paid to the last searching cooperation initiative of five Polish companies from the energy sector. Thanks to the agreement on their works’ consolidation, Wejherowo license has a chance to become the place of the first commercial shale gas exploitation. The scale of the investments planned on this license will be the model for other licenses.”

At the same time, to the order of the Minister of Environment, since the beginning of year 2012 a research project has been conducted, whose aim is to assess comprehensively the influence of the gas exploitation from unconventional layers on the environment. The project is financed from the resources of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and conducted by The General Directorate for Environmental Protection. The project is supposed to be finished at the end of 2013. Its scope covers 5 research areas that represent so called three main hydrocarbon pools in Poland: Pomorze, Podlasie and Lublin pools. The field work will be conducted by the team of experts cooperating with scientists from reputable Polish universities.

The project’s aim is to, i.e. investigate the further possibilities of shale gas exploitation from unconventional layers process’ influence on the environment and to develop best practices of environmental monitoring and the reclamation of the terrains, where the exploitation of gas from unconventional layers is conducted, and to develop detailed guidelines for preparing reports and conducting the assessments of the influence on environment. The research covers, e.g.: ground water and surface water resources, landscape, nature protection forms, soil, noise and the emission to the air. The field work will start in August.

The minister Piotr Woźniak comments upon it as follows:

“Poland is the unarguable leader in Europe when it comes to the pace of searching works and the progress of environmental monitoring. So far European Union’s analyses showed that Poland has a good environmental legacy and adhering to our law will give us a great chance to gain major benefits for Polish economy and to lower the gas prices for Polish citizens without damages of natural environment.

“Since their start the works on searching of shale gas are proceeding according to the plans agreed by investors and the Ministry of Environment in the licenses granted them. These works are constantly supervised by appropriate services of environmental and mining supervision. Mining offices play particularly important role in this process. They systematically supervise every single bore. Important party are also environmental protection inspectors, who control decisions and licenses, e.g. in the scope of administering the wastes and checking if the entrepreneurs adhere to them. According to information from the authorities controlling searching works and environmental condition, no major inconsistencies were noticed so far. Obviously some minor deviations appeared, like locating boring wastes in different place than it was instructed in the decision allowing for the wastes’ recycling but, they were quickly removed after the control.”

Shale gas in Poland – facts and numbers

  • 111 – the number of licenses for shale gas searching, issued in Poland since 2007
  • 28 – the number of currently examined applications for licenses for searching and recognizing oil layers, submitted to the Ministry of Environment as the licensing authority
  • 90 k of km2 – is the area of licensed shale gas searching in Poland. This is 29% of the country’s territory and the territory comparable to wielkopolskie voivodeship.
  • 13 voivodeships and circa 900 districts – the territory of shale gas searching. 7 licenses are placed on the Baltic Sea.
  • 23 – the number of finished bores
  • 6 – the number of bores in process
  • 41 – the number of bores planned in Poland until the end of 2012
  • 308 bores – this is the number of bores the investors are supposed to make on 110 licenses for searching and recognizing of shale gas until 2021, including 122 obligatory bores and 186 optional bores

LNG World News Staff, July 09, 2012