Conoco Eyes Poland's Promising Shale Gas

Citing ConocoPhillips' vice president of exploration, Reuters reports that the third-largest U.S. oil major has signed an exploration deal to explore for natural gas in Poland's promising shale acreage.

Shale reserves are estimated to contain "vast amounts" of natural gas reserves, which are tapped using horizontal drilling methods.

Speaking at the Barclays Capital energy conference, Larry Archibald confirmed that ConocoPhillips' agreement with Lane Energy grants the former an option to earn a 70% interest in, as well as operate up to, 1 million acres in Poland.

Archibald described the land in Poland as flat and easily accessible, adding, "What's not to like about this type of play?" Archibald also said that any natural gas produced from the shale will be distributed into the European Union market.

With plans to drill its first well in Poland during the first quarter of 2010, ConocoPhillips is scaling back its drilling in North America, where natural gas prices have plunged to seven-year lows, Reuters reported.

Underscoring the effect of waning natural gas prices, Archibald said that ConocoPhillips did not "feel a lot of pressure to drill up" in the company's North American shale positions.