Polish companies have moved into the prime position as far as exploration of Polish shale is concerned. In the recent months only three wells have been drilled, all of them by the Polish state-owned giant PGNiG. PKN Orlen is also continuing its search for shale-derived hydrocarbons. At the same time, foreign companies have been winding down their activities saying that shale gas exploration in Poland has turned out far more difficult that it had seemed several years ago.
Despite the concerns voiced by foreign investors, Polish oil and gas companies are pressing on with exploratory work. It can be a thankless task – PKN Orlen has admitted that the production volumes are small, but it said that their commitment to Polish shale is not dependent on production results. The difficulty seems to lie in a tricky geology of Polish deposits as well as the necessity to optimise the technology to limit the costs and improve the efficiency of the wells.
PKN Orlen is in the process of drilling its eleventh exploratory well and – it claims – is moving in line with its strategy and exploration programme. PGNiG has so far made sixteen exploratory wells. The next four are to be drilled in late 2014 and 2015 year.
Despite the commitment of the Polish companies, commercial production of shale gas in Poland will happen no sooner than in three to four years’ time. Pawel Poprawa from the Institute for Energy Studies told the Polish portal Gaz Lupkowy that the reality of Polish shale turned out to be very different from early assumptions. Polish shale formations contain more oil than gas and are difficult to explore. He also pointed out that so far the flows achieved from Polish wells have amounted to thirty per cent of what is considered economically viable amounts.
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