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Shale Gas Revolution At Hand In Europe’s East

Ukraine’s shale gas reserves are estimated at 1.19 trillion cubic meters compared to estimated Polish reserves of 5.3 trillion.

Ukrainians would like to use their own unconventional gas resources and limit gas imports from Russia, reported Puls Biznesu.

Imports amounted to 57.6 billion cubic meters in 2010 and are expected to amount to 54 billion this year. In 2012, Kiev wants to reduce delivery from Russia by another 8-10 billion cubic meters, said Ukrainian minister of energy and coal industry Jurij Bojko.

Global oil and gas company Shell has just signed a contract to explore potential shale gas with Ukrainian Ukrhazwydobuwannia in the Dniepr-Donetsk valley. According Mr Bojko, Shell’s investment in Ukraine may reach $800 million.

But it’s not only Ukraine (which also interests Polish oil giant PKN Orlen) and Poland that could shrug off dependence on Russian imports thanks to shale gas. According to a report on unconventional gas by the Kościuszko Institute, Europe as a whole could benefit from this still under-exploited resource, as it continues to look for new energy sources and alternatives to coal.

“The possibility of using our own resources of unconventional gas in Europe is very promising. It’s particularly visible in the context of increasing dependency on Russian gas, and also in light of limited supplies,” Professor Alan Riley, an energy law expert at City University in London, told Puls Biznesu.

Although experts think the industry can prove to be very profitable, there are also downsides to shale gas exploitation, including Europe’s lack of a uniform gas market and environmental concerns.

Warsaw Business Journal, 2 September 2011

see also Economic Forum: Unconventional Gas As A Chance For Europe