Monday, June 3, 2013

REPOST: Shale to remain Poland's top priority-treasury minister

According to the new treasury minister of Poland, shale will remain the country's top investment priority despite recent setbacks to the budding industry. This article has the details. 

(Reuters) - Shale gas investments will remain Poland's top priority despite a series of recent setbacks, because unconventional sources of energy are a matter of national interest, the country's newly appointed Treasury Minister was quoted as saying on Monday.

In an interview for weekly Bloomberg Businessweek, Wlodzimierz Karpinski added that the government may even push state-owned companies further to treat shale gas projects as strategic goals.

"The pressure on companies to invest in this area will certainly not be smaller, it could even be bigger, because this is a matter of national interest," Karpinski said.

Karpinski's remarks may come as a surprise after several companies, such as Exxon Mobil, Canada's Talisman Energy and U.S. oil firm Marathon, all quit their Polish shale gas operations.

The companies largely cited an uncertain regulatory framework as the reason for their decision.

Critics of Poland's determination to make a success of shale gas to cut its dependence on natural gas imported from Russia say there may not be enough shale gas in Poland to make later production profitable.

Some also say Poland's geological make-up may also make it difficult to explore for the gas at a cost that would justify the investments.

About 40 test wells are currently in operation in Poland, though none is expected to start producing gas before 2015.

Karpinski said the government was aware that pushing state-owned companies, such as gas monopoly PGNiG or even copper producer KGHM, to invest in shale involved risks.

"The risk connected with exploration should be properly distributed," Karpinski said.

Get to know the latest in the oil and gas industry. This Ali Ghalambor Wordpress blog provides relevant updates.

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