Imagine if central and eastern Europe had ample supplies of cheap natural gas, gushing from the ground, and lowering ethane feedstock prices across the chemical sector in the region. Such a pipe dream would surely transform the fortunes of the chemical sector in CEE and further afield, in the same way North America is enjoying its renaissance.
This week Poland’s prime minister, Donald Tusk, made a personal pledge to open Poland up to the exploration of shale gas. The country currently relies heavily on Russian gas, as does most of CEE.
The Wall Street Journal’s “New Europe” blog reports on Tusk’s speech to a local conference. ”I will be engaging myself personally, as the head of the Polish government, in the optimization of conditions for the exploration, research, logistics and the business related to the production of shale gas,” he said. “It may happen that one of the fruits of this debate will be what’s priceless: a feeling of security and a hope for the future for millions of people….Poles are waiting for this gas.”
U.S. energy giants are drilling in Poland after initial geological research showed the country may have substantial amounts of shale gas, mostly in the north and east where some experts predict deposits of between 150 billion and 3,000 billion cubic meters. The discovery of documented deposits could change Poland’s energy mix–it now largely depends on natural gas imported from Russia’s OAO Gazprom.
“It has to be safe for the environment, technologically feasible on a large scale, it must be profitable. But our determination is clear: every cubic meter of gas in Poland must be used if possible,” he said.