Friday, 8 April 2011

Good news for Europe: Poland has shale gas for 300 years

A new report published by the US Energy Information Administration is good news for Poland - and Europe in general (except Russia):

Poland has 5.3 trillion cubic meters of shale natural gas, equal to more than 300 years of the country’s annual gas consumption, the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy said in a report.

It’s the largest amount of shale gas for any European state in a study of 32 countries, the agency said.
This is more than the most optimistic estimates available so far. Experts predicted earlier Poland had deposits of between 150 billion and 3 trillion cubic meters

Read the entire WSJ article here.

Polish PM Donald Tusk recently said that his country is determined to produce shale gas to reduce its dependence on gas imported from Russia:

“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.”

Major US energy companies drilling in Poland have said the the initial findings give reason for optimism. predicts "dramatic changes" in the European energy market:

“Shale gas is the most important energy development since the discovery of oil“ 

As already pointed out in our previous special reports, we believe that shale gas is on one hand one of the most important factors of our future energy supply and on the other hand one of the most attractive investment opportunities. Geologists believe unconventional gas to exceed the conventional reserves by a factor of 10. We believe that whatever is deemed “unconventional” gas today will soon be “conventional” gas due to technological progress . We are also convinced that the European energy and gas market will undergo dramatic changes in the coming years, and that the dependence on Russian gas will be a thing of the past. Currently we seem to see the beginning of this transformation process.

If shale gas can really gain a foothold in (Eastern) Europe on a sustainable basis, this would come with extensive effects for Europe. On the one hand the frequent threats by Russia to suspend deliveries would become obsolete, and on the other hand the prices should take their cues from the market prices in the future. At the moment the gas prices in Central Europe are about 100% higher than in America.

According to there is still a lot of scepticism in Europe towards shale gas:

The scepticism vis-à-vis shale gas is still enormous in Europe. But the sentiment was similar in the USA at the beginning of the 90s. After the USA had gone beyond a “tipping point”, i.e. a critical mass, substantial growth ensued. Production per drilling rig in the USA has almost risen exponentially as a result of improved technologies in production and higher expertise with regard to the geological specificities of shale gas deposits. Improving expertise also results in falling costs. While the costs of the Barnett Shale eight years ago amounted to USD 5/mmBTU , they have meanwhile fallen to USD 3/mmBTU. In 2004 average drilling time was 110 days, today it is 18 days. In addition, many studies substantiate the notion that costs as low as USD 2.5/mmBTU are possible, which means that the production of shale gas would partially be cheaper than the production of conventional gas. Currently we can see the transfer of technology from the USA to Europe. Therefore we assume that the development of shale gas in Europe should progress much more swiftly.

The big danger for Europe is that the ever louder green movement could seriously slow down the exploration and extraction of European shale gas. The growing popularity of the German greens, who seem to think that wind and solar are the answer, is particularly worrisome. Hopefully more sane political forces in Germany and elsewhere do not allow the greenies to dictate energy policy.

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