Is tight gas the good news Poland has been waiting for?

Gas drilling rig
Source: DollarPhotoClub

According to new estimates from the Polish Geological Institute, the country may be able to recover about 10 per cent of estimated tight gas reserves of as much as 2 trillion cubic meters (70 trillion cubic feet). This is far more than the country’s proven conventional deposits of 134 billion cubic meters of the fuel, or about eight years of annual consumption.

While production of tight gas is technically easier than breaking into shale deposits, layers can be as deep as 6,000 meters (20,000 feet), potentially hurting the viability of drilling, Hubert Kiersnowski, a co-author of the PGI report, said at a news briefing.

“These estimates are good news for investors,” Marcin Zieba, general director at the Polish Exploration and Production Industry Organization, told Bloomberg News. “Depth like any problem can be overcome.”

This is good news for Poland at a time when it certainly could use some good news.

Poland – once the most hyped-up shale destination in Europe – has lost a lot of its sheen once all of the major investors left the country, quoting difficult geology and slow legislative system. Even though there are some who – like Ilia Ponomarev an Opposition Member of the Russian Parliament and a keynote speaker at the Central and Eastern Europe Shale Gas and Oil Summit in Warsaw – believe that Poland might actually benefit from the departure of the majors, the general mood is far from enthusiastic.

The recently-published statistics by the Ministry of Environment show that, once again, the number of shale licences has decreased. However, the opposite trend can be seen when it comes to exploration wells, the number of which grew.

In February, the number of licences decreased by three in comparison to the previous month, leaving 48 active licences in Poland.

According to the Ministry, 69 shale gas wells have been drilled so far of which 16 were horizontal and 53 vertical. Hydraulic fracturing has been carried out on 25 wells, including 12 horizontal wells. DFITs – Fracture Injection Diagnostic Tests – were carried out on four wells.

When it comes to tight gas, only six wells of this kind have been drilled in the last five years. The “Siekierki” gas field in the Great Poland region seems particularly promising. Further research in the area will be carried later this year by San Leon Energy and Palomar Natural Resources.

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