Imagine how Central and Eastern Europe’s chemical industry could be transformed if Poland managed to access the massive shale gas reserves which have been discovered in the country.
The region’s chemical sector currently relies for feedstocks mainly on expensive, imported oil and Russian natural gas. Shale gas could give CEE the same, structural advantage currently enjoyed by US chemical producers who enjoy ethane prices which have disconnected from crude oil.
As US president Barack Obama visits Poland on May 27-28, officials from the country’s economy ministry will take the opportunity to meet US shale gas experts, according to ICIS news.
Recent estimates by the US Energy Information Administration put Poland’s shale gas reserves at around 5.3 trillion cubic metres.
This would be enough to meet Poland’s annual gas consumption of 14 billion cubic metres for decades to come and put an end to its need to import 70% of its required gas from Russia.
Several companies from the US and Canada, where shale gas extraction has been pioneered, already have licences to drill in Poland.
Lane Energy Poland, a subsidiary of Isle of Man-based investment company 3Legs Resources, is drilling a third well in northern Poland after promising results from its first two wells.
French oil company Total has signed an agreement with US oil giant ExxonMobil to acquire an interest in the exploration of shale gas in Chelm and Werbkowice. US oil major Chevron has also obtained a licence to search for shale gas.
Polish refining, chemicals and petrochemicals group PKN Orlen has said that in 2012 it is to launch an upstream business with its own oil and gas extraction and energy production units. The strategy envisages a move into extracting and processing shale gas.