European shale-derived natural gas could become a reality far sooner, and in far larger quantities, than markets expect.In a Securities and Exchange disclosure from last Thursday Chevron confirmed that it won new rights to explore Poland for potential shale gas:
Noted in the annual report, Chevron has acquired rights to explore for natural gas in the Grabowiec concession, located in the southeastern part of Poland.
The confirmation follows Chevron’s announcement in December that the company was awarded three five-year exploration licenses for the Zwierzyniec, Kransnik and Frampol concessions, also located in Poland, to explore for unconventional gas resources, Dow Jones reported.
In December 2009, the Environment Ministry of Poland granted Chevron permission to carry out seismic studies and exploratory drilling up to 3,500 meters underground, as well as to develop shale gas resources.
Keep in mind that Chevron isn’t alone in Poland. Exxon, Conoco, and Marathon are there as well investigating shale’s potential. Which means that Polish shale is likely chock full of gas:
This is getting too big to ignore. One company takes a gamble, two might be foolish, three might simultaneously jump on a band wagon and drive off a cliff. But there is a critical mass of companies in Poland. Something is going on, and it’s unlikely that many companies will be wrong all at the same time.
It’s still not clear how much shale gas Poland could have, but Russia has to be worried. While it is known that Europe doesn’t have the massive shale deposits of the U.S., it could still have enough to substantially reduce its reliance on Russian gas.