Exxon Ends Shale Gas Prospecting in Poland

Exxon didn't find enough shale gas for commercial development in Poland.

Oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil Corp. (IW 500/1) is set to leave Poland, after prospecting for shale gas deposits but not finding enough for commercial use at its test wells, according to company officials.

"The end of shale gas exploration in Poland means a withdrawal from further prospecting in Poland," said Exxon Mobil exploration and production spokesman Adam Kopysc, cited in Polish center-left daily Gazeta Wyborcza Saturday.

"We did not find constant, commercial hydrocarbons flow rates at our two drilling sites in the Lublin Basin near Krasnystaw and the Podlasie Basin near Siennica" in southeastern Poland, he added.

It was not immediately possible to confirm the information.

Poland has up to 67.8 trillion cubic feet of exploitable shale gas deposits, according to an official report from Poland's State Geological Institute (PIG) published in March.

The Institute said its findings suggest Poland ranks third among European countries in terms of shale gas deposits, behind Norway and the Netherlands.

Tapping the deposits could assure Poland energy independence from Russia.

Poland, a European Union nation of 38.2 million people, consumes about 14 billion cubic metres of gas per year, two-thirds of which comes from Russia.

The Polish government has said the country plans to begin commercial shale gas production in 2014.

Little-known even five years ago, gas trapped in sedimentary shale rock is seen as having the potential to change global energy markets.

But moves to tap it have sown deep divisions in Europe amid concerns that the hydraulic fracturing process used to extract it is environmentally risky.

Poland's fellow EU members France and Bulgaria have imposed bans on the extraction method, commonly known as "fracking."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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