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The oil tycoons are looking for the blue fuel

24-06-2010  News

A column by Jacek Krawiec, chairman of PKN Orlen
      More and more often, international corporation that have so far concentrated on oil extraction turn into oil and gas companies.ExxonMobil is spending 41 billion dollars on a gas and mining company XTO, whose main assets include licensed shale gas areas in the US.Then there’s a British-Dutch corporation, Royal Dutch Shell, who have started drilling the unconventional gas deposits in Sweden.Norwegian Statoil entered a joint venture with US-based Chesapeake to drill Marcellus, one of the richest shale gas beds in the US.Te French company Total has also started cooperating with Chesapeake, at a cost of 2.25 billion dollars.Technological companies in oil industry also start similar ventures:Schlumberger and Baker Hughes, have bought (for 11 and 5 billion dollars, respectively)companies with unconventional gas mining technologies.The presence of such companies as ExxonMobil and Chevron, whose licensed areas are right next to PKN Orlen’s, shows that this direction may be a promising future for Polish oil industry.So far, the estimates of Polish shale gas deposits seem to arouse some emotions.Some experts are accused of excessive optimism, while others seem too pessimistic.This discrepancy is only apparent and stems from different methodologies.When American companies estimate the deposits, they include the exploitable and non-exploitable resources.It generally assumed, that approx. 10 percent of all deposits can be considered exploitable.When we consider this, our reasonable optimism tells us to expect, according to the National Institute of Geology, that there can be at least 150 billion cubic metres of non-conventional gas in Poland.The oil and gas industry has always been one of the most competitive industries.In the history, some companies fell while some blossomed, cartels were formed and smashed.There is one important lesson in this - if you don’t play, you can’t win, so you shouldn’t overlook the opportunity.Polish companies, including PKN Orlen, are actively participating in the search for the blue fuel by entering into strategic alliances with massive oil and gas corporation, that decided to invest in finding and extracting this resource in Poland.The economic interest of Polish companies should be identified with the wider national interest.It is because of this philosophy, that the US managed to build the strongest economy in the world.In the future, shale gas mining may be an opportunity for Polish companies to significantly increase their capitalisation and strengthen their, and Polish, position in the European region.We should look what the most powerful are doing.One of the key points in US president’s Barack Obama's visit to China this May was an agreement concerning the cooperation on developing the shale gas technology and mining.The dynamically developing Middle Kingdom, with its constant resource hunger, will gain access to new energy sources, while American corporation will again earn a lot.
Rzeczpospolita B, p.: 16, 2010-06-16, by: Jacek Krawiec


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