Poland vows to veto any EU law on shale gas fracking

Published Sep 29, 2011


Marek Strzelecki and Ben Farey Warsaw

POLAND would veto any EU legislation that threatened its sovereignty in energy policy, Maciej Olex-Szczytowski, an adviser to the Polish foreign minister on economics and business, said yesterday.

“We’re going to veto any attempt of interference in our sovereignty in the sphere of energy policy,” Olex-Szczytowski said at a conference in Krakow when asked about a potential initiative to pass EU legislation regulating shale-gas exploration.

Poland, which is seeking to reduce its reliance on Russian gas, might hold enough fuel trapped in shale to meet its needs for 300 years, the US Department of Energy said in April.

France, like Poland a member of the EU, in July became the first country in the world to ban hydraulic fracturing – whereby water, sand and chemicals are pumped into rock to release trapped fuel – amid concern it may contaminate water supplies.

US-based Exxon Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips and Canada’s Talisman Energy are leading the exploration drive for shale gas in Poland, where the US Department of Energy said there might be 5.3 trillion cubic metres of “technically recoverable” shale gas.

“I would think that Poland would resist giving up its sovereignty on the energy mix,” said Jim Johnston, an exploration director at Exxon Mobil’s Polish unit.

Poland hopes to reduce its dependence on imports of Russian gas by developing its shale resources. About 90 percent of the country’s imports come by pipeline from Russia via Gazprom, the biggest supplier to Europe.

The EU’s biggest eastern economy used 14.3 billion cubic metres of gas last year while domestic production was 4.1 billion cubic metres, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

Poland’s electricity generation is dominated by coal, used to produce more than 90 percent of its power.

The US Energy Information Administration’s assessment of Polish shale deposits of 5.3 trillion cubic metres would propel Poland up the league table of global gas reserves, eclipsing its current reserves of 0.1 trillion cubic metres. – Bloomberg

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