News of the death of Polish shale “grossly exaggerated”

Shale gas well in Krynica Poland
Shale gas well in Krynica Poland. Source: Wikicommons, author: Karol Karolus

Professor Grzegorz Pienkowski of the Polish Geological Institute is confident that despite the departure of majors from the country, the extraction in Poland will successively rise in the future, to even “billions of cubic metres”. Having said that, Prof Pienkowski quite categorically denied that Poland will ever become “a natural gas power” but said that there is high likelihood that production volumes that were a disappointment to the majors, might be quite sufficient for domestic production.

A new report will be published towards the end of 2015 estimating Polish shale gas deposits not as previously based on legacy data, but based on the 70 wells that have been drilled so far.

In an interview with a Polish Mining Tribune, Prof Pienkowski advocated an attitude of cautious optimism. The early estimates, set initially at as much as 768 billion cubic meters of gas, were clearly exaggerated, but Poland does have technically recoverable shale gas in quantities not to be scoffed at. Granted, Polish shales are “difficult” and don’t respond well to technologies transplanted directly from the U.S., but – as Prof Pienkowski pointed out – with every new well  knowledge about these deposits grows.

It is true, however, that Poland is locked into a sort of vicious circle: “In order to find and confirm these resources, we need to drill more. And that means more spending on exploration. Therefore, the number of wells has not been going up but rather the opposite – it’s been declining. With no increase in drilling there is no increase in knowledge and our chance to hit those sweet spots decreases accordingly,” Prof Pienkowski said.

“The good news among all the pessimism it the knowledge that while the early estimates were greatly exaggerated, the current atmosphere of doom and gloom is also an exaggeration,” he added, concluding: “It is our belief that exploration should be continued because newer wells have better results.”

Meanwhile, the Russian giant Gazprom has issued a statement in which it concludes that due to the current circumstances in the market, the interest in shale gas has declined around the world.

“As expected, shale gas production prospects in Poland and Ukraine turned out to be significantly overestimated and all international operators waived further participation in projects in these countries by now,” Gazprom said.

The interest in shale gas is declining in current environment, Gazprom said. Many oil and gas majors announced investments cuts or fully abandoned shale projects, particularly in China, Australia and East European nations, according to Gazprom.

Article continues below this message

Have your opinion heard with Shale Gas International

We accept interesting, well-written opinion and analysis articles of up to 1,500 words, that offer unique insights into the shale industry. The articles cannot be overtly promotional in nature and need to fit into at least one of our content categories.

If accepted, the article must be exclusive to Shale Gas International website and cannot appear on any other websites, publications, etc. Each article may contain up to three links to external websites relevant to the content discussed in the piece.

If you would like to contribute to Shale Gas International website, please contact us at: editor[at]mw-ep.com