Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Poland does not want EU to regulate shale gas exploration

The Polish government has - probably very wisely - changed its position on the need for EU regulation for shale gas exploration. The Poles have realized that a common EU shale gas policy could in  reality mean an end to Poland´s golden opportunity to rid itself of the dependence on Russian gas:

Poland, long seen as promoting a common European approach to shale gas, has now published a surprising study describing possible EU regulation on the industry as "unfeasible".
Just ahead of its Presidency, Poland had lobbied for shale gas to become a "common European project". But Warsaw would apparently now prefer Brussels to abandon plans to develop the industry.
The Polish Permanent representation to the EU hosted a public event in Brussels on Tuesday (4 October) to present a new study on shale gas, published in Warsaw the day before.
The paper, published by the Polish Institute of International Affairs, is called: "Path to prosperity or road to ruin? Shale gas under political scrutiny." It argues against a European approach to shale gas regulation, distancing itself from the earlier Polish position.
Since last June, when environmental concerns led France to ban hydraulic fracturing - the technology by which shale gas is extracted - there has been no common European approach to the sector. Warsaw is believed to have feared that regulatory restrictions would evolve from a common policy.
The study admits that Poland could be counted on as a European nation where one could speak excitedly about shale gas. In pushing for its development, Poland is not so much motivated by the expected "inflow of petrodollars", but by the political implications for Polish energy security, the authors say.
Optimistic expectations regarding Polish shale gas reserves contributed to the euphoria, the report admits. For the last couple of years, more than a hundred of concessions have been granted for shale gas exploration. The list of beneficiary companies include energy majors such as Chevron, Marathon oil, Exxon Mobil, Conoco Phillips and ENI.
"What seems obvious from the EU level becomes less so from the perspective of an individual member state," write the authors, who claim that for Central Europe, "shale gas should be seen as a local or regional game-changer".
The authors take stock of the public debate in various European countries including France, where the Parliament has banned hydraulic fracturing.
"Because of the complexity and breadth of this debate, it seems unfeasible to consider introducing a comprehensive legal or regulatory framework [on shale gas] within the EU," they conclude.

Read the entire article here

The Poles have realized that the less EU regulation (lobbied for by nuclear power producing France and the green movement in an unholy alliance with Russia´s Gazprom) the better. With the UK and possibly some other EU members on their side, the Poles should be able to protect their national interest and be ready for the gamechanging shale gas revolution.

PS 2

Robert Amsterdam notes that the Poles are now in Moscow trying to lower the much too high price Gazprom is demanding for gas:

The heads of Poland’s state gas company PGNiG are in Moscow to negotiate what they hope will be up to a ten% reduction in gas prices from Russian energy giant Gazprom. Echoing a threat by Ukraine, should talks fail to reap the desired conclusion, Poland is apparently willing to take the matter to international arbitration.

In the not too distant future, the Poles will fortunately be in a much better position to say NJET to the Russians!

1 comment:

Monkeyfish Phil said...

i can totally understand why