Poland and fracking

From Global Energy Monitor

Companies like ExxonMobil have explored Poland for fracking, spurred in part by high US EIA estimates of national gas resources. The first exploration well was drilled in June 2010. Yet many companies including ExxonMobil left the country by 2013, citing tough government regulations and disappointing drilling results.[1]


The first exploration well was drilled in June 2010. By mid-2013 around 40 wells had been drilled, more than anywhere else in Europe. None, however, have flowed gas at a commercial rate.[1]

On July 10, 2013, The Economist reported that those hoping for the fast development of shale gas in the country have faced setbacks, "as geology is more difficult than anticipated and proposed regulation has been repeatedly delayed." The article also cited industry dissatisfaction with the country's tighter leasing and proposed royalty guidelines than the U.S. The Poland ministry of environment handed out five-year exploration licences to companies that can be extended once for two years. (The first ones will expire in 2013-2014.) The government has also proposed new taxation capping the government take at 40% of an operator’s profits, although -- if enacted -- it would not be collected until 2020.[1]

Companies say this and other regulations has not made exploration worthwhile, particularly since they have cited unsatisfactory results in trying to extract gas, although the Polish Geological Institute says too few wells have been drilled to draw conclusions about the rocks. According to the Economist: "After great initial enthusiasm companies such as ExxonMobil, Talisman Energy, and Marathon Oil threw in the towel and quit the country."[1]


The EIA’s 2011 report on global shale gas estimated that Poland had about ~187 tcf of technically recoverable resources. In March 2012, the Polish Geological Institute estimated the technically recoverable resources of shale gas in Poland at between 12.2 tcf and 27.1 tcf, about 67% to 93% below the EIA estimate.[2] It has been estimated that Poland has more untapped shale gas reserves than any other European Union nation.[3]

Citizen activism

In July 2013 the Christian Science Monitor reported that there has been some grass-roots opposition to fracking, including a farmer protest against Chevron's well testing.[3]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 A.E. Warsaw, "Mad and messy regulation," The Economist, July 10, 2013.
  2. "Shale & renewables: a symbiotic relationship," Citi, Sep. 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "As Poland's fracking future turns cloudy, so does Europe's" Sara Miller Llana, Christian Science Monitor, July 24, 2013.

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