Fracking setbacks dim Polish hopes for less Russian gas.

Bloomberg: “Poland’s ambition to achieve energy independence from Russia is being undermined by drillers giving up on the nation’s shale wells after disappointing results.”
The highest test flows during the country’s five-year search for unconventional gas were just 30 percent of what’s needed for commercial production, said Pawel Poprawa, a geologist at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow. The number of active shale permits has fallen 43 percent from a high in January 2013 and explorers probably won’t extend all those expiring this year, according to Slawomir Brodzinski, the nation’s deputy environment minister.
3Legs Resources Plc, the Isle of Man-based company that was the first foreign explorer to buy a license in the East European nation, said last month it’s leaving after poor results at Poland’s biggest fracking operation in the northeastern Baltic Basin. The “poorly understood” formation may hold more gas than Texas’s Barnett Shale, where commercial output from 2000 helped turn the U.S. into the world’s largest gas producer, according to the U.S. Energy Department.
….The European Union is trying to diversify its energy supplies as local gas output falls and a price conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the region’s biggest provider of the fuel, threatens to disrupt winter flows for the third time in eight years. Poland, which gets about 57 percent of its gas from Russia, encourages shale gas amid bans in other EU nations.
….Exxon Mobil Corp. left Poland in 2012 after results from early wells disappointed. Talisman Energy Inc. and Marathon Oil Corp. gave up in May 2013, while Eni SpA withdrew nine months ago.
….“When you look at the shale gas production in Europe, at this moment there’s no shale gas production at all,” Van der Hoeven said. Poland doesn’t have “real nice rock layers like you have in the U.S.” and the shale gas is deeper, she said.
Polish shale’s organic content, reservoir thickness, permeability and porosity are near the lower end of acceptable levels for deposits in the U.S., Poprawa, who has been evaluating the nation’s shale since 2007, said by telephone on Oct. 7.
Our geological conditions are more difficult, and we are also bound by strict European Union environment regulations, which means U.S. success isn’t being echoed in Europe,” Brodzinski, also Poland’s chief geologist, said Oct. 2 in a phone interview from Warsaw. “Without technological adjustments, there won’t be shale gas success in Europe.”
….Five of the 12 wells completed in Poland this year through July were drilled by foreign investors, with the rest by state-controlled operators, Environment Ministry data show.”