Shale Gas in Poland: The Fading Dream

The news is that Chevron in pulling out, following the other major international firms.

Now a realistic analysis in the European trade press:

By Nicholas Newman
In 2013 the US Energy Administration estimated that Europe contained 470 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of potentially recoverable shale gas, equivalent to 80% of US reserves. Given the size of Europe’s potential shale gas reserves and the EU’s declared intent to constrain climate change, while still protecting energy security, it is surprising that exploration for shale gas has been so little and so slow. Poland, the UK, France, Ukraine, Romania and Germany are all countries, which are estimated to have significant shale gas resources, but, with only 55 rigs in operation, knowledge of Europe’s geological share heritage is sparse, though early indications are that the shale plays are deeper at around 5000-6000 metres compared to 3000-4000 metres in the US.

"There is no escape from the second obstacle namely high cost. Europe’s deeper shale plays and more complex geology adds to costs. Deep shale plays require heavier and stronger rigs and pumps, more fracking fluids, water and sand. To drill a 6,562-foot horizontal well in Poland costs around $11 million, if you are lucky, reported Bloomberg January 2014. As Rex W. Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil explained, “Because the technology we have used so successfully in the States is simply not working on the Polish geology someone is going to have to spend a lot of money into basic R&D before it’s going to work”, reports Bloomberg November 2014. "

Add to these problems the fact that you cannot own mineral rights in Poland and that the Government will automatically want a big cut and anyone hoping for a breakthrough here looks pretty naive


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