Poland: European Capital Of The Shale Gas Boom?

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Oil & Gas IQ

In this exclusive interview with Oil & Gas IQ, Dariusz Latka, Corporate HSE Lead at Talisman Energy Poland explains the role of his company in the comparably young sector of shale gas.

He emphasizes the importance of including all parties in the planning process; i.e. the government, local community and key local stakeholders. Communication is the key: in the end, successful communication will ensure that shale gas exploration and possible future exploitation activities will be fruitful.

IQPC: What is your company’s role in the gas industry?

Dariusz Latka: Talisman Energy is a worldwide oil and gas exploration and exploitation company, headquartered in Canada, but operational around the world. In Poland we are the operator on three concessions, currently conducting an exploration program for unconventional shale resources.

IQPC: In a dynamic market like the unconventional gas market in Europe, how is your company setting itself apart?

Dariusz Latka: Due to our extensive experience in unconventional resource exploration and exploitation in major shale plays in the U.S. and Canada, we feel we have both the experience and the knowledge needed for shale resource development in our concessions in Poland.

As leaders in shale resource development, we have developed a list of guiding principles for responsible shale resource exploration and exploitation.

Moreover, we recognize the importance of maintaining close community and government relations. We identify and cooperate with key local stakeholders, thereby actively engaging them in our activities; explaining the nature of our work, and mutually agreeing on mitigation measures related to the preservation of the natural environment and the well-being of the local inhabitants and visitors to the area.

IQPC: What major challenges is the industry facing right now? Which impact do they have on your work?

Dariusz Latka: Shale gas exploration and possible future exploitation activities will require the creation of stable and foreseeable development conditions.

This includes the legal framework, infrastructure upgrades and, most of all, obtaining the acceptance of local communities.

There is yet a lot of work ahead of all the stakeholders to achieve these goals. We hope that initial confirmed findings of oil and/or gas are encouraging enough to progress towards the production stage, thus providing benefits to all parties involved.

This will contribute to the building a positive attitude towards shale resource exploitation among stakeholders at local and national levels.

IQPC: During the last years, shale gas developments in Europe developed pretty slowly – What changes do you expect for the next 2 years?

Dariusz Latka: Well, looking back at the situation in Poland in mid-2010, there was a lack of necessary resources to get the job done - few rigs were available for hire, and not many specialists, especially those communicative in English.

However, with every month the situation improved - equipment became available and service companies had brought in the necessary specialists to perform the work.

We are now pleased that the equipment and technical support is in place to plan and execute our exploration project and also have the time to focus on community relations matters.

This is the situation for the foreseeable future and until the expiration of our exploration concessions in 2014.

IQPC: What are the biggest obstacles right now for shale gas drilling in Europe?

Dariusz Latka: The shale resource exploration and exploitation business is an investment like any other, full of risks but also promising rewards.

Therefore, we hope that once the presence of shale resources can be verified in commercial quantities, we will see more of a ‘can-do’ attitude, both locally and at the EU level.

In the meantime, we are doing our job in the most responsible manner, respecting the interests of local communities where we operate – and planning for success.