High hopes for Polish shale

Aug. 10, 2011 at 8:02 AM

WARSAW, Poland, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- The Polish prime minister said he wanted to make a potential shale gas boom in his country a reality, increasing energy security and lowering pollution.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that Poland may have the largest deposits of shale gas in Europe.

Poland gets more than 60 percent of the natural gas it uses each year from Russia. However, Poland could become a net exporter of natural gas if it can find a way to exploit its shale reserves, the Financial Times reports.

"We are determined that the exploration and extraction of shale gas in Poland becomes a fact," Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk was quoted as saying.

Apart from energy security, the shale boom could diminish Poland's environmental footprint. The country uses coal to generate 85 percent of its electrical power.

British energy company 3Legs Resources was quoted by the Financial Times as saying there were initial reservations on the shale potential in Poland but it now said it found "high gas saturations" there.

Environmental concerns led France, another country with rich shale reserves, to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which uses chemicals and abrasives to get at the gas.

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