ExxonMobil Snaps Up Unconventional Gas Acreage in Poland

HOUSTON (Dow Jones), Oct. 13, 2009

Exxon Mobil Corp. confirmed Tuesday it has recently acquired an unconventional natural gas acreage position in Poland.

"ExxonMobil confirms that an affiliate was awarded exploration acreage in the Podlasie and Lublin basins by the government of Poland," said Patrick McGinn, ExxonMobil's spokesman. "We appreciate the opportunity to evaluate the hydrocarbon resource potential of this Polish acreage."

The company didn't disclose the size of the acreage, but said it was acquired in December 2008 and that company is exploring for unconventional natural gas resources.

ExxonMobil is the second U.S. oil major to announced in recent weeks that it is exploring for unconventional natural gas resources in Poland. ConocoPhillips (COP), the third-largest U.S. oil company by market value after ExxonMobil and Chevron Corp. (CVX), said in early September it has agreed to explore shale gas -- hydrocarbon-rich rock formations -- in the Baltic Basin in the north part of the country. Conoco has said shale gas in Poland is easy to reach and any natural gas produced can go into the European Union market, where demand is growing even as consumption remains weak in North America.

ExxonMobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, already has significant acreage to explore for unconventional natural gas in Germany and a venture in Hungary.

ExxonMobil's move comes at a time when demand for gas produced in Europe is expected to grow vigorously as countries intensify their efforts to reduce their dependence on Russia as a supplier.

ExxonMobil and its rivals are hoping that Europe's unique need for new local supplies will help their investment on the continent to hold up better than in the U.S., where heavy development of unconventional gas has contributed to a glut that recently sent prices to a seven-year low.  

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