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ExxonMobil Ends Shale Exploration in Poland

ExxonMobil Corp. has ended its shale natural gas exploration efforts in Poland after two test wells failed to produce "sustained commercial hydrocarbon flow rates," a spokesman said Monday.

The Irving, TX-based supermajor holds six exploration licenses in eastern Poland that cover 1.6 million acres. Four are in the Podlasie Basin (100%) and two are in the Lublin Basin (51%). Total SA is its 49% farm-in partner in the Lublin. Last year ExxonMobil acquired and processed 2-D and 3-D seismic for the basins. The producer also drilled and operated the Krupe-1 and Siennica-1 shale gas wildcat wells in the basins last year.

However, ExxonMobil's Patrick McGuinn, a spokesman in ExxonMobil's Houston upstream media relations office, said the producer has "completed operations in Poland after fulfilling all work program requirements with our co-venture partner and in compliance with all environmental regulations.

"There have been no demonstrated sustained commercial hydrocarbon flow rates in our two wells in the Lublin and Podlasie basins," he told NGI's Shale Daily. "We do not have drilling plans in Poland" going forward.

The Polish government has been helping to fund exploratory research into unconventional research and drilling efforts because coal now provides about 90% of the country's energy, making it one Europe's most heavily dependent on traditional fossil fuels and the biggest European coal exporter. However, the country also is thought to have vast quantities of natural gas stored in shale formations.

"Poland is arguably the biggest focus for shale gas in all of Europe," Deputy Foreign Minister Beata Stelmach stated in May. "But it is not at all clear how many reserves are there and that won't be known for another three to five years. There is some worry that early high estimates were widely over enthusiastic."

In March the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that Poland's technically recoverable unconventional gas reserves were much lower than projections made in 2011 (see Shale Daily, March 26).

According to Poland's Ministry of the Environment, shale plays in the country contain 346-768 billion cubic meters, or 12.2-27.1 Tcf, of technically recoverable shale gas resources, which is a fraction of the 5.3 trillion cubic meters, or 187 Tcf, the EIA reported in "World Shale Gas Resources: An Initial Assessment of 14 Regions Outside the United States," in April 2011 (see Shale Daily, April 7, 2011).

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