Polish State-Controlled Firms Push Back Decision on Shale JV Project

WARSAW - Five state-controlled Polish companies Monday said they have extended the deadline to February on a decision about the structure of its potential joint venture for exploration for shale gas in Poland.

Natural gas utility PGNiG SA; power utilities PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna, Enea SA, and Tauron Polska Energia SA; and copper miner KGHM Polska Miedz SA agreed in July to invest up to 1.72 billion zlotys ($526 million) in cooperation on the Wejherowo concession in northern Poland.

They originally expected to decide details of their cooperation by Dec. 30. On Monday, they decided that if they fail to come up with decisions on the joint venture by Feb. 4, each of them will have the right to pull out.

Exploration for shale gas is one of the Polish government's top priorities. Poland's shale gas and conventional reserves combined could cover 35-65 years of the country's demand for natural gas, according to the Polish Geological Institute.

The country hopes shale gas will reduce its dependence on what it says is expensive natural gas from Russia.


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