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Algerian state firm Sonatrach plans to share lessons learned from shale exploration with its Polish counterpart PGNiG, the two sides agreed during a visit by Polish officials to Algeria earlier this month. However, PGNiG has no plans to invest in shale gas in Algeria, given that it is focusing on shale gas exploration in Poland for now.
Poland has often been described as Europe’s shale gas pioneer. The EU state attracted interest from several oil and gas majors and shale-focused companies since the late 2000s, as part of Warsaw’s strategy to reduce its dependence on Russian gas.
However, the country failed to live up to its promise so far – Poland’s shale gas resources were estimated by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) at 190 tcf in 2011 - with foreign companies exiting Poland in the past three years mainly due to poor exploration results and regulatory uncertainty. In the latest example, Chevron in January said it would stop exploration activities in Poland, following in the footsteps of ExxonMobil, Total and US firm Marathon Oil. The current low oil price has also spurred companies to cut spending. In addition to environmental risks, exploration and drilling costs in Poland are about twice as high as in North America given the relative lack of supporting infrastructure and services companies.
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