There are 65 shale gas wells and drills in Poland, more than any other European country. The UK, the only other EU member state with plans to develop the resource, has only a couple of wells.
Poland plans to build 50 new shale wells every 12 months over the next few years but currently, the focus is more on exploration than exploitation. It has granted 82 concessions to prospect for unconventional hydrocarbons, 72 of those are shale gas related.
The companies which have won exploration licences in Poland include Chevron, Polski Koncern Naftowy Orlen S.A., Petrolinvest, Conoco Philps, Cuadrilla Resources, BNK Petroleum, BNK Poland, Mac Oil Spa and Basgas Ltd.
New legislation concerning the granting of concessions, the performance of concession and strengthening concession and mining supervisor have been passed in months rather than the years it usually takes to amend laws. But officials also insist Warsaw is committed to meeting EU legal and environmental stands in shale gas development.
The EU is lagging behind in shale gas research because there are not many shale gas-related construction sites. Warsaw is reportedly putting pressure on the Commission to produce a report from several construction sites about every environmental aspect of prospecting for shale gas. It is expected to be ready by the end of the year or the beginning of 2015.
Several public information campaigns about shale gas were conducted in Poland. Opinion polls in 2013 showed that 73% of Polish citizens are in favour of shale gas, a very high figure by international standards. Poland is also insisting that EU legislation should not put ’unnecessary burdens’ on energy companies.
By the end of the year Poland and the UK are also expected to present a joint report on the macroeconomic impact of shale gas in the EU.