Polish shale gas pull-outs not necessarily tragic - bank

09 May 2013 12:25  [Source: ICIS news]

Shale gas workerLONDON (ICIS)--The decision of two more North American energy firms to end their shale gas exploration operations in Poland means less capital and know-how will be available to the country as it tries to unlock its unconventional gas reserves, a bank said on Thursday.

In a note to investors on the pull-out of Canada’s Talisman Energy and US company Marathon Oil – which followed last year’s exit from Polish shale gas exploration by US energy major ExxonMobil – Robert Rethy, an analyst at WOOD & Company, said: “While the exit of the large oil companies is not necessarily a tragedy for Polish shale gas, it certainly means less available capital and know-how, and, thus, it is probably a setback, at least timing-wise, for the unconventional [gas] hopes.

“Smaller companies focusing on such unconventional prospects is not an unusual way of development, but it may take time to turn these prospects into real assets. Also, such exits and the lack of commercial discoveries to date clearly imply that initial hopes regarding the prospects of the Polish shale plays have been overly-ambitious.”

Talisman said on 8 May it was selling its three Baltic Basin Polish shale gas exploration licences to the Irish group San Leon Energy. It cited strategic reasons and the discouraging Polish regulatory environment.

Marathon Oil said it was leaving Poland after failing to make any commercial discoveries under its 11 shale gas licences.

Chevron, of the US, and Italy’s ENI are still active in Poland’s shale gas sector.

The Polish government originally talked about estimated shale gas reserves being enough to supply the country with gas for centuries, but last year it reduced its estimates and began referring to “decades”.

By: Will Conroy
+44 20 8652 3214

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