Poland is poised to lead a "shale gas revolution" in Europe, according to Marek Karabula, president of the Polish Oil and Gas Co.
He said the country had in place the technology, the political will and, perhaps most importantly, the public acceptance to ensure that Poland unlocks the potential of its estimated 5.3 trillion cubic metres of shale reserves.
"We have the support of the local community," he told a conference session at POWER-GEN Europe yesterday that focused on security of energy supplies.
He said 73 per cent of Poles were in favour of shale gas exploration, while 56 per cent had no objection to drilling operations being set up near their homes.
Karabula claimed that by 2020 Poland will have 1000 drilling wells, producing 11bn cubic metres of shale gas. "These are big figures, with big challenges and big awareness issues," he said, adding that the country would have to "create a lot of joint ventures and have a lot of co-operation around Europe" to realise its ambitions.
However he stressed that he did not see shale pushing other forms of power generation out of the energy mix. "Gas is not going to squeeze out renewables and it's not fighting with coal and there is plenty of space for LNG: there is room for everything... but there must be space for shale gas."
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