Venture fund plans first European shale gas proppant plant

22 December 2011 16:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--LST Capital sees Poland becoming a hub for the production and distribution of ceramic proppant to Europe's emerging shale gas extraction industry, the venture capital fund said on Thursday.

The Polish fund said it was working with two of its subsidiaries, LZMO and SOL Ventures, to develop Europe's first ceramic proppant production plant in Poland, which would then be divested to a shale gas operator.

Ceramic proppant can be used instead of sand in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a technological process to extract natural gas from shale rock formations, LST Capital said.

Careful evaluation of the potential Polish shale gas extraction industry showed there could be a demand for 400,000 tonne/year of ceramic proppant, the fund added.

Its first-phase investment in establishing the ceramic proppant plant might amount to around €12.5m ($16.2m), LST said.

The Polish government says preliminary estimates show the country's shale gas reserves could be as high as 5.3 trillion cubic metres, equivalent to more than 300 years of the country's yearly gas requirement.

Companies including US-based Chevron Corporation and ExxonMobil Corporation, as well as oil and petrochemical group PKN Orlen and fellow Poland-based gas monopoly PGNiG have begun exploratory drilling for shale gas in Poland.

However, an analysis released by Erste Group Bank in June cautioned that Europe would have to wait at least five years before any significant rates of unconventional gas production were achieved.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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