Poland is estimated to have a high quality resources of three main types of unconventional gas: tight gas, coalbed methane and shale gas. Until recently, the oil and gas companies considered these gas resources uneconomical to produce. Currently, technology of advanced drilling and reservoir stimulation, which dramatically increased the gas production from unconventional reservoirs in USA, may be applied in Europe, especially in Poland. Consequently, Poland is going to emerge as a significant gas producer and this would influence on European gas market reducing the dependence on energy import from Russia.

The paper presents the recent advances of exploration for unconventional gas in Poland including shale gas, coalbed methane and tight gas. The prospective areas for shale gas and tight gas in Poland are presented in the context of E&P risks and opportunities

Including environmental problems and regulations. The recent drilling projects and estimates of the resources of unconventional gas in Poland are also presented. Another topic discussed in the paper is utilization of the coalbed methane. The potential in coal seams gas resources in Poland is estimated to be similar to known conventional reserves (about 150 bln s.cu.m). In Poland, methane is recovered mainly for safety reasons from coal mines. Many coal mines utilize this gas for a small scale heating and electricity generation, but global utilization efficiency is as low as 60%. This paper presents the existing and new projects of methane utilization and discusses the possibilities of applications of new drilling technologies, known from development of tight gas and shale gas reservoirs. These technologies may be applied for methane production from abandoned coal mines and from unmineable, deep coal seams.


At present, the Europe as a whole depends on import of gas. About 25 percent of its gas supplies comes from Russia. Poland is particularly depended on gas imports, with 65 percent of gas imports coming from Russia. On the other hand, the potential for shale gas production in Europe is undoubted. According to present estimates, the Europe's total shale gas in place could be 173.2 Bcm (6.115 tcf). If these can be proven and exploited, it could dramatically change Europe's energy equation, reducing the continent's dependence on gas imports. The present estimates of the gas reserves in Europe are presented in Table.1 Currently some European countries have put a moratorium on shale gas activity due to environmental risks related to recovery. Poland supports the operation of gas exploration and production including recovery of unconventional gas. Up to date more than 25 companies have been awarded more than 100 licenses for exploration of unconventional gas. The country has reserves of shale gas, tight gas, coalbed methane and conventional gas. Poland is also a gas transition country located in the heart of Europe between Russia and Western Europe (Fig.1.). The map of exploration and mining concessions in Poland is presented in Fig.2.

The main player on the Polish gas market is Polish Oil and Gas Company (PGNiG). At present, the company has 93 oil and gas exploration and appraisal concessions and 224 oil and gas mining concessions. Up to date the company has been awarded 15 exploration licenses for unconventional gas covering an area of 12,280.18 square km. Cooperation (especially in drilling technology and geophysics) with foreign companies such as Exxon Mobil, Conoco Phillips, Chevron and Marathon operating in Poland allows both parties to utilize their experience in this area and to provide access to modern technology.

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