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Shale Gas Set To Start Flowing In Europe

Tim Webb, The Times

Shale gas is set to start flowing in Europe within weeks after an AIM-quoted company backed by George Soros fracked Poland’s second successful well.

San Leon Energy said that it intended to produce millions of cubic feet of gas per day from the well, near Gdansk, before the summer.

It pits the company against an American rival drilling nearby in the race to be the first to produce Europe’s first commercial quantities of shale gas.

Oisín Fanning, executive chairman of San Leon Energy, said the positive fracking results proved that big oil companies such as ExxonMobil were wrong to quit Poland after drilling dusters.

Referring to the 88,000 sq km of acreage where companies were exploring for shale gas, Mr Fanning said: “Just because someone drills a dry well in Sheffield does not mean London is written off.”

Poland has been at the forefront of Europe’s efforts to replicate the American shale gas boom, in which a sharp decline in energy prices has led to an industrial renaissance that threatens to put European manufacturers out of business.

However, the exit of ExxonMobil, as well as Talisman Energy and Marathon, and the decision by Polish authorities three years ago to slash the country’s reserves estimate from 187 trillion cubic feet to 27 trillion cubic feet led to speculation that hopes had been misplaced.

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