The integration of the European energy market, infrastructure investment, the future of nuclear energy, and opportunities offered by shale gas exploitation were the main subjects addressed by the 4th Energy Forum.
During the three-day conference prepared by the Institute for Eastern Studies in Warsaw (the organizer of the Economic Forum at Krynica-Zdrój) over a dozen panel discussions and company presentations were held. The Forum was attended by over 400 participants, including politicians, business persons and members of expert communities from over twenty countries. The exploration for and extraction of shale gas in Poland figured prominently on the agenda.
During the debate on the environmental impact of [shale gas] extraction Undersecretary of State and Chief National Geologist Henryk Jezierski said that the shale gas extraction technology was safe. Vice-minister for the Environment stated that, unlike some other countries, Poland did not propose to ban exploration projects. “Firstly, we are monitoring America’s experience: with tens of thousands of bore holes drilled, no environmental disasters have occurred there. Secondly, we have good environmental legislation and institutions to monitor the exploration for shale gas”. Marek Kamiński, Executive Director of Ernst & Young Business Advisory, observed that the state could influence the development of shale gas production via taxes and regulation. “These instruments need to be precise, for we do not know what the extraction costs are going to be”, he emphasized. Marcin Matyka, head of the tax consulting department at DLA Piper, pointed out that worldwide taxation levels ranged between 30 percent and 52 percent. While income tax is the most commonly used instrument (in the U.K., Norway), in the USA revenue tax is levied and Argentina and Russia have yet other systems.
During the debate on the diversification of gas supply Gaz-System President Jan Chadam expressed an opinion that the EU was going to seek gas supply diversification based on the existing infrastructure and on the strengthening of connections between the transmission systems of the Scandinavian, Baltic and Central European states. The Nabucco gas pipeline and the proposed LNG gas terminals in Poland and Croatia are to be central to the diversification policy. The Gas-System President disclosed during the Forum that the European Commission had supported the plan to build a Poland-Lithuania gas interconnector. “After the talks in Brussels, support funding from EU’s aid funds has become a more realistic prospect”, said President Chadam. Henryk Majchrzak, Chairman of the PSE-Operator Management Board, addressed investment in energy transmission networks. He believes this investment in Poland will be so costly as to make in necessary for PSE Operator to seek external financing. Referring to trans-border connections, Henryk Majchrzak highlighted the Poland-Lithuania connection which rounds-up the “Baltic project” designed to reach a capacity of 500 MW by 2015.
The participants of the nuclear energy development debate were in agreement that these power stations’ main vulnerabilities included a potential terrorist attack, modest global uranium stocks and the challenge of radioactive waste storage.
Source: Czysta Energia, nr str.: 31, 1 January 2012, p. 31, by łc