Total drops shale gas exploration in Poland

2014-04-14 18:31
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Warsaw - French oil giant Total has abandoned efforts to explore for shale gas in Poland, the country's environment ministry said on Monday, amid controversy over the energy source in Europe.

"Their exploration licence expired on 1 April and Total has not requested a renewal," ministry spokesperson Pawel Mikusek told AFP, without giving a reason for the decision.

He said it was Total's only licence in Poland, for a field in the east of the country.

Total Poland declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

Many European countries - including Total's own, France - have refused to allow shale gas exploration or production due to environmental concerns over the fracturing or "fracking" techniques used to recover deposits.

Some other countries have failed to find commercially exploitable deposits.

Protests have erupted against fracking in countries including Lithuania, Romania and Ukraine.

Poland has been on a drive to exploit its shale gas reserves - estimated at between 800 billion to 2 000 billion cubic metres - in an effort to ensure energy independence from Russia.

The government plans to invest €12.5bn in the sector by 2020.

In an effort to encourage exploration, Warsaw announced last month that shale gas extraction would be tax-free through 2020.

Local and global companies have thus far sunk about 50 exploratory wells in Poland, but several big-name energy companies have since abandoned the work.

Global energy giants ExxonMobil and Marathon Oil dropped their exploration efforts last year after finding deposits too deep to extract using fracking.

But others including US energy majors Chevron and ConocoPhillips - which was the first to extract shale gas in Poland last year - remain in the game.

Read more on:    total  |  poland  |  fracking

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