Prof. Stanisław Rychlicki – Head of the Department of Oil Engineering, AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków.
Does the failure of the explorations conducted by ExxonMobil in Poland mean that there is no shale gas in Poland which could be commercially extracted? The lack of satisfactory results from the wells drilled by ExxonMobil should not be related to all the explorations in Poland, even though after the failures of 3Legs Resources and BNK Petroleum definitely this is bad news. For the time being, ExxonMobil made only two wells which is a small number out of 109 concessions which have so far been issued in our country. What is more, each of them is different. Some concessions can be better and some may be worse. Even under the same concessions individual wells may bring different results.
In the United States the beginnings were also difficult. Afterwards, deposits were found even in places where the first wells did not bring satisfactory results. Where are the most promising concessions? Commonly it is believed that they are in the Pomerania and Lublin region. However, at present we have to little data to be able to answer that question pretty accurately. So far, about a dozen wells were made. In order to say something more about shale gas deposits, at least 70 of them will be needed. Is it possible to commence commercial extraction of the shale gas in 2014 as Minister Mikołaj Budzanowski wants it? From the technical point of view this is possible. Unfortunately, it would require overcoming significant logistics problems such as the construction of gas pipelines, roads and mines and problems arising from the applicable provisions of the geology and mining law.
One cannot forget that under present conditions the construction of infrastructure necessary for the conventional gas extraction in Poland takes three to five years. And what impact on the explorations may have the planned introduction of the tax on exploitation? The announcement of the introduction of such tax scared the investors a little, especially foreign corporations. In the result, their enthusiasm to carry out explorations subsided a little bit. In turn, we may expect more activity on the part of the companies with the share of the State Treasury. Minister of Treasury will definitely support such activities. Experts have different opinions about the size of shale gas deposits in Poland. Which forecasts appeal more to you?
The estimates regarding the size of shale gas deposits are so divergent that it is difficult to say today which of them are closer to the truth. We are still waiting for the estimates of the Polish Geological Institute which may provide more information about the workable resources. Regardless, I believe that the shale gas represents a big opportunity for the development of Poland.
Source: Rzeczpospolita B, Page no.: 4, 2012-02-03, by: Tomasz Furman