Poland eyes new shale regulations

Shale plans: Polish government mulls its role in development

Poland plans special regulations for shale gas production, including fees or even mandatory participation of the state, to safeguard its budgetary interests, a deputy treasury minister said on Thursday.

Reuters reported that Mikolaj Budzanowski said special legislation aimed at keeping gas prices low and securing budgetary inflows could be approved next year.

"Poland's interests could be protected through (special) taxes or fees or the state's stake in gas production from licences," Budzanowski told a seminar during an economic forum in Krynica.

Poland is seen as a prospective market for unconventional gas production with 90 exploration licenses already awarded with the sector's giants like Chevron and ExxonMobil among interested parties.

However, the licenses only cover exploration and the companies will have to seek a deal with the government again when they want to switch to production.

On Wednesday gas monopoly PGNiG said it had seen gas flows from one of its shale gas test drills in northern Poland, but added the field's profitability could be estimated in 2012 at the earliest.

Polish media has speculated that large scale production from shale gas could start in five years, earlier than expected.

According to a recent study by the US Energy Information Administration, Poland's technically recoverable reserves of shale gas are the biggest in Europe at an estimated 5.3 trillion cubic metres.

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