Rigzone discusses the potential for shale gas to change the supply/demand balance for natural gas in Europe as shale gas replaces imports from Russia.  A U.S. Energy Information Administration report released in April on world shale gas resources estimates Poland to have technically recoverable shale gas resources of 187 Tcf and proved gas resources of 5.8 Tcf.  (Tcf = trillion cubic feet)

Currently Poland imports over 70% of its natural gas requirements from Russa. This could soon change as the country begins to exploit its shale gas deposits.

Poland’s shale gas, as well as shale gas reserves in other European countries, “could potentially stabilize domestic supplies in the face of declining conventional production, helping reduce energy dependency and diversifying the supply mix,” according to a report from the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS) at King’s College, London, titled, Strategic Perspectives of Unconventional Gas: A Game Changer with Implication for the EU’s Energy Security.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Sept. 18 that Polish shale gas production could begin in 2014. He believes that, by 2035, Poland will be able to meet its domestic gas demand mainly with Polish shale gas.

More than 100 concessions for shale gas exploration have been granted to some 20 foreign and domestic companies, including Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Talisman.  About 125 mandatory exploration wells will be drilled by 2014, with options for several dozen additional wells to be drilled.

Shale gas would also help Poland reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and meet its EU mandated targets.  Right now its electricity generation is highly dependent on coal.

The issue of the environmental impact of hydraulic fracking to capture the shale gas does not appear to be as significant in Europe as it is in Canada and the United States as the gas is much deeper in the ground in Europe.

The impact of hydraulic fracturing on local water supplies has been debated in Europe as well as the U.S. However, Europe’s unconventional gas resources are generally located more deeply in the earth compared to the U.S., according to Maximilian Kuhn and Frank Umbach, authors of the EUCERS report.“While the greater depth raises exploratory drilling costs, it lowers the risk of groundwater contamination,” noted the authors.

To date, more than 7,100 wells greater than 1,000 meters deep have been drilled through aquifers in Poland, with no cases of water contamination reported.

Poland’s General Directorate for Environmental Protection will begin an in-depth project later this year to study various environmental aspects of shale gas exploration. The study will be one of largest environmental studies of shale gas in Europe.

 

See also Natural gas shale play development now going global.

 

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1 Comment on Poland Leads Wave of European Shale Gas Development

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