Proposed Shale Gas Development Stirs Passions in Poland

Energy-poor Poland is about to embark upon using hydraulic fracturing to develop the country's natural gas reserves. The practice is controversial in many countries, including the U.S., because of its potential impact on the environment, particularly groundwater. Many municipalities and counties in the U.S. have adopted stringent regulations as a result.

Poland's Petrolinvest has formed a joint venture, Silurian-Hallwood, with the U.S.-based Hallwood Energy to begin shale gas extraction after funding is raised, Rzeczpospolita newspaper reported.

Silurian-Hallwood is currently attempting to raise $90-100 million, of which, $20-25 million will come from private investment with the remaining $70-75 million from an initial public offering (IPO) prior to the company being listed on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) later this year.

Author Jacek Skorupski observed, "Shale gas is a matter of a political nature. If we treat it like any other investment, we will be faced with mounting difficulties."

Deputy Environment Minister Jacek Jezierski ambiguously noted, "We will be able to say whether amendments to provisions regulating shale gas extraction are needed once we perform a professional assessment of its environmental impact, not an emotional one. Poland intends to control this process, not to ban it."

Marek Kryda of the Institute of Civil Affairs emphasized, "It is necessary to look after issues related to property expropriation and lease. We can already see irregularities at the stage of test drilling."

(The original article appears at


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